MATTITUCK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - It may seem a little cheesy, but Michael Affatato found a home for his passion on Love Lane.
"I got into the cheese trade just through serendipity," he said.
After a decade spent making wine in France, Affatato came back to the states and bought the Village Cheese Shop in Mattituck.
Now, he purveys everything from manchego to Sbrinz to brie — along with many, many others.
It's not just the cheese on hand that brings in the customers, Affatato says.
"I'm not somebody who's very metaphysical or spiritual in that sense, but something about this place, it's a very happy vibe. Everyone says so. It's the cheese. It's the wine. It's the synergy between our staff," he said. "You know the feeling when you're going to the dentist, and you have a rock in your stomach? Well, this is the opposite. We're the anti-dentist, if you will."
The shop welcomes cheese connoisseurs and novices alike.
"We're very proud and happy to be educators as well as cheesemongers. Our staff here is extremely well trained," he said.
Affatato seeks to build a comfortable environment for customers to try new things.
"Whatever they want, they can taste," he said.
He's also happy to go out of his way — literally — for his customers: He makes house calls.
"I live in South Jamesport. I don't live very far. I don't mind getting in the car or on my motorcycle with my backpack and bringing cheese to people's houses. It's this daily sharing of passion that we love so much, and it's contagious."
What the customers like may surprise them. Don't let a strong aroma throw you, he advises.
"Some of these pungent cheeses smell a lot stronger than they taste," he said. "Please, give these pungent cheeses a chance! They're so wonderful."
Affatato marvels at the alchemy involved in making cheese.
"It's really a beautiful discovery of how wonderful bad milk can be, when it's done correctly. Wine is grape juice turned sour, more or less, and cheese is really the result of milk gone bad."
Some cheeses can be pricey - a whole wheel of a housemade truffle brie can set you back $400 - but for Affatato and his customers, it can be worth it.
"This magical product of cheese... to me, it's a necessary luxury. And we all deserve that little piece of happiness in our life," he said.
The Village Cheese Shop
105 Love Lane
Mattituck, NY 11952
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