Melanie Fortino, Cheese Cave Team Leader

Melanie Fortino

Melanie FortinoYears at Di Bruno Bros.: 2

Hometown: Philadelphia

How she got into cheese: I was a Communications major at IUP (Indiana University of Pennsylvania), then I worked for QVC — my focus was displays. After that, I went to culinary school. I’ve worked in just about every department here at Di Bruno Bros. Until January, I worked in Center Island. That’s the center area with all the charcuterie and pastries and prepared foods. Now I am officially Cheese Cave Team Leader, not to be confused with “cheesecake team leader” – sometimes I get called that on the phone.

Food Philosophy: I think every two years you should try something you’ve never tried before. Would you like to try some blue cheese with chocolate?

On the job: I do all the cheese ordering. I can tell you how much we sold of each cheese on any given day. Our most popular cheeses? Prima Donna, Delice de Bourgogne, house-made mozzarella. And Grana Padano – always.

Her cheese of the moment: I’m like a married woman in that I have one cheese that I always return to, but I also have affairs. My one true cheese is Pantaleo. Pantaleo and I are best friends. Right now, though, Cabot’s Clothbound Cheddar is my new infatuation.

Beer or wine: I used to be a wine person, but recently, I’ve gotten into beer. I was out with a fellow cheesemonger and I had a sip of his beer, and I said, “That’s not awful!” I’m learning that I like white beers and Flemish sours.

When she’s not at work: I love to read, and I like to brew mead.

Always in her fridge at home: Greens – I’m a big salad fan. Beer – my husband loves it. A functional cheese, usually a grated and a goat.

Favorite product that’s not cheese: Éclat chocolates. They’re local, and they’re amazing. I also love our cured salmon that is cut to order.

What she likes about Philly: It has everything I want. If I need a Band-Aid, there’s a CVS around the corner. There’s the Italian Market and Reading Terminal. Philadelphia has all the amenities of a big city, but it feels like a small town.

For more cheesy bits, check out Madame Fromage.