Head to Bluehour in Portland, Oregon and ask for Amanda. She’s the new maître fromager (aka cheese wiz) with a serious cheese menu and captivating personality.
Amanda DeMann is pretty intense about her cheese – she is self taught and landed her current position by cramming as much cheese knowledge as she could. Her method of study? Flash cards. “You know, like we did in college,” she tells me. Ah, a nerd after my own heart. How could I not write about this girl?
Now Amanda rules the floor of Bluehour with her meticulous and thoughtful cheese cart. She carries artisan cheeses from all around the world, with a strong representation of American artisan cheeses, featuring specimens such as Wabash Cannonball from Indiana, and Hooligan from Connecticut.
The best part of the job for Amanda is educating people. When guests are uninspired, Amanda introduces them to Epoisses, one of the most notoriously stinky (and delicious) cheeses from France. And her customers keep coming back for more. “I like to start people where they are comfortable, and then explore from there”.
Just as I was getting ready to leave, I spot a tattoo on her wrist “memento mori” (remember death). “It’s not as morbid as it seems”, she assures me, “it reminds me to live life to the fullest every day”. Some words, and cheese, we should all live by.
Bluehour is located at 250 Northwest 13th Avenue, Portland, OR 97209. Tel: (503) 226-3394, http://www.bluehouronline.com