Business Insider reports on the strange new black market in cheese that is emerging in Russia:
Russians Are Buying Cheese The Same Way People Bought Weed In 1980s Brooklyn
Back when the EU, Australia, Norway, Canada, and the US placed economic sanctions on Russia, Russia responded by banning a bunch of imports from all of them. That ban included a lot of food — meat, dairy, vegetables, and so on.
Unfortunately, people really like food — especially cheese. So in Russia, they’ve devised ways to circumvent this inconvenient ban when it comes to the good stuff.
Corner stores have become black-market cheese dealers.
"A sort of speakeasy scene for French and Italian cheeses evolved which was akin to buying drugs from 1980s bodegas in Brooklyn," one Moscow banker told Business Insider. "First, you walk into the bodega slowly, trying to wipe any suspicious look from your face. Then you pretend to look around the shelves for a while until the clerk recognizes you, at which point you and the clerk make eye contact and establish that metaphysical connection that signifies to both of you ‘I’m here to cop an ounce.’ You wait until there are no customers around, approach the clerk. He takes you to the back room, shows you the goods, you haggle over the price, shove the bag in your pocket, hand over the cash and bounce. Except here you’re leaving the store with a ball of fresh Italian mozzarella…"
Or some amazing camembert, or brie … You get the picture.
Read the full story. I recently posted about Jay Robert Close, the American expat cheesemaker who is responding to the Russian demand for cheese with stepped up production.