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Cheesemonger Anne Saxelby Dies

Specialty Food Association

Saxelby Cheesemongers founder Anne Saxelby, who championed American artisan cheeses, has died, reports The New York Times. She was 40 and had a heart condition.

“She was a humble and masterful advocate for American cheesemakers, fostering a deep appreciation for the craft and people behind the cheese,” Adeline Druart, president of Vermont Creamery, told The New York Times. 

Saxelby began her cheese career working as a monger at Murray’s Cheese and as an apprentice making farmstead cheese at Cato Corner Farm in Connecticut, according to Saxelby Cheesemongers’ website.

She traveled to local cheesemakers throughout the northeastern U.S. and abroad, working with goat cheese makers in the Loire Valley and with affineur Herve Mons in Roanne, France, to learn all that she could about making, aging, and selling cheese.

She founded the Essex Market on Manhattan’s Lower East Side in 2006, which measured just over 100 square feet, and was soon joined by business partner Benoit Breal. During its early days, Saxelby would fill a large hiking backpack with as much cheese as could fit inside and deliver it via bicycle to some of New York City’s finest restaurants.

Chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill, Mike Anthony of Gramercy Tavern, and Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson of Frenchette are among the proponents of American cheeses that Saxelby supplied.  

In 2011, Saxelby Cheesemongers opened its first “cave” in Red Hook, Brooklyn, dedicated to wholesale and mail orders. Six years later, Saxelby and Breal opened a retail location in Chelsea Market and expanded its selection to include domestic craft beer and cider, cheese trays and platters, and grilled cheese sandwiches.

With Breal now at the helm, the retailer will continue Saxelby’s mission “to be the bridge between local cheesemakers and the consumers for many years to come,” said Breal. Full Story

Image: Christine Han Photography,