Customer Service F.A.Q.
Q: How much cheese should I order?
5-10 cheeses: 3/4 to 1 ounce (per cheese, per person)
10-20 cheeses: 1/2 to 3/4 ounce
- APPETIZER PLATES
3-5 cheeses: 1 to 1 1/2 ounces
- MAIN COURSES
3-5 cheeses: 1 1/2 ounces
5-10 cheeses: 1 to 1 1/2 ounces
- AFTER-DINNER PLATES
3-5 cheeses: 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 ouncexs
5-10 cheeses: 1 to 1 1/2 ounces
more than 10 cheeses: 1/2 to 1 ounce
Q: I'm lactose intolerant. Can I eat your cheese?
Lactose is a sugar that makes up around 2-8% of the solids in milk. Nature intended liquid milk primarily for newborns and the very young. In many species, the adult mammal produces less of the enzyme lactase, used to digest milk. As a result, many adults, unable to properly metabolize lactose, don't tolerate milk very well.
However, it is a widely held misconception that there is more lactose in cheese than in other dairy products. In the very first step of the cheesemaking process, milk sugar is consumed by beneficial microorganisms, transforming it into lactic acid. The higher concentration of acid helps promote curdling (think orange juice and milk) and wards off pathogens. Finally, much of the lactose remaining after acidifcation is drained off along with the excess whey.
So, as a direct result of the cheesemaking process, most mature, artisanal cheeses - made according to traditional methods - have very little lactose. However, the situation is different for fresh or processed cheeses. Fresh dairy products are usually very lightly curdled (yogurt, sour cream, etc.) -- often by the addition of an acidifier instead of the lactose-to-lactic-acid reaction -- and are still full of whey. Consequently, they possess a much richer concentration of lactose. And processed cheeses often have sugar added back into them, which may (or may not) irritate the lactose intolerant.
Remember: most of the cheeses we carry contain very little lactose. In our experience, those diagnosed (or self-diagnosed) as lactose intolerant are more often than not allergic to milk. If you strongly react to fresh cheeses, ice cream, cheesecake, etc., but not to aged cheese, you are probably lactose intolerant. However, if you react to many different kinds of dairy products, regardless of age or type, you may in fact be allergic to milk. If your reaction isn't too debilatating, try sampling cheeses made from goat's or sheep's milk. Many people with milk allergies react poorly to cow's milk but not to goat's milk, for example. As always, consult a medical professional about these issues before making any changes in your diet. We're cheese experts, not doctors!
Q: How much cheese is served? Should I make dinner reservations for afterwards?
When attending an Artisanal Premium Cheese class or event you can expect to be served up to a 1/2lb of cheese in total. This is quite a helping and most people find it to be a more than substantial meal.
Q: Where are your classes held?
Unless otherwise noted, all classes are held from 6:30pm - 8:30pm at the Artisanal Premium Cheese Center, located at 500 W. 37th Street in Manhattan. Please visit "Our Location" in the Customer Service department for maps and directions.
Q: I can't make my class! Can I cancel or reschedule?
Cancellations must be made 24 hours prior to class time. If at least 24 hours notice is given, a credit will be issued towards a future class. Any cancellations within 24 hours of class time are nonrefundable.
For the Master Class, cancellations made up to 14 days prior to the first day of class are fully refundable. Within 14 days, you will be held responsible for 25% of the total fee. Any cancellations within 24 hours of the first class are nonrefundable.
Q: Can I eat the rind?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions about cheese; and yet, there is no simple answer. Most of the time, a cheese's rind consists of one of three things: cheese, cloth, or wax. In the case of the latter two, we suggest you skip eating it. It won't hurt you, but it's no fun trying to pull wax or linen out of your teeth.
On the other hand, the rinds of cheeses with seemingly inedible exteriors are often composed entirely of cheese. For example, Parmigiano-Reggiano sports a rock-hard shell reminiscent of plastic. In reality, this shell is dried, salted, compressed curd - i.e. cheese! Along the same lines, the orange film that envelopes Epoisses is made of cheese spiked with the beneficial organism B. Linens. The gray, furry coat on Tomme de Savoie is again made only of cheese, this time with the help of several strains of mold.
Here at Artisanal, we feel that every facet of a cheese should be appreciated: appearance, texture, smell, and of course flavor. But we take a much more utilitarian response to the question of whether or not one should eat the rind. Our advice: try it! If you like the taste, that means more cheese for you! If not, there's no harm done. Be assured that no matter how funky smelling or brightly colored the rind may be, it is still made up simply of cheese and some combination of edible molds, herbs, ash, etc. We feel that the rinds on most cheeses add complexity and depth to the tasting experience.
Q: Does my fondue need to be refrigerated?
Absolutely. Fondue is cheese and, as such, inherently perishable. We cannot be held responsible for cheese received but not refrigerated.
Q: How long will it take to receive my cheese?
It takes 24 hours to receive and process your order. Orders placed before midnight will be shipped on the following business day, Monday - Thursday. Due to the perishable nature of our product, all of our cheese ships to arrive overnight. Please note that orders placed on Thursday will ship Monday unless Saturday Delivery is selected for an additional charge. We cannot ship on Saturday or Sunday.
| ORDER PLACED || ORDER SHIPS || ORDER RECEIVED |
| Monday || Tuesday || Wednesday |
| Tuesday || Wednesday || Thursday |
| Wednesday || Thursday || Friday |
| Thursday || Monday || Tuesday |
| Thursday || Friday* || Saturday* |
| Friday || Monday || Tuesday |
| Saturday || Monday || Tuesday |
| Sunday || Monday || Tuesday |
| *Saturday Delivery Charges Apply |
Q: Does cheese have gluten in it?
Many of our customers with gluten allergies or Celiac disease need to know if cheese has gluten. Many health resources incorrectly state that blue cheeses are made with bread and therefore have gluten present. The fact is that only Roquefort is made with bread, and only Roquefort has these traces of gluten. In making Roquefort, penicillum roqueforti is introduced to the milk by grinding up and adding in both the mold and bread on which it is traditionally grown. No other blue cheese is made this way; and, overall, cheese has very little to no gluten present.
Most importantly, however, consult a medical professional about these issues before making any changes in your diet. We're cheese experts, not doctors!
Q: Can I select a slower shipping method?
Due to the perishable nature of our product, we ship our cheeses to arrive overnight. Orders shipping within the regional Northeast are guaranteed overnight via UPS Ground; orders shipping outside the regional Northeast must ship UPS Next Day Air Saver. For orders consisting entirely of non-perishable items, multiple shipping options are available.
Q: When will my Cheese of the Month ship?
Cheese of the Month ships on the Wednesday of the first full week of every month. Please note that we at Artisanal Premium Cheese consider a full week to begin on a Sunday and end on a Saturday.
Q: How are my cheeses packaged?
Your cheeses are packaged in insulated cartons, fitted with gel ice packs and cushioned with packing peanuts.
Q: How long will my cheese last? How can I best refrigerate my cheese? Can I put it in the freezer?
The average refrigerator is a perfectly fine place to store cheese. If you have a wine cooler, even better - the temperature and humidity is closer to the ideal climate for cheese storage. While harder cheeses can last longer than the soft ones, even the softer cheeses can survive for a week to ten days if properly refrigerated. Never freeze artisanally-produced cheeses.
To help extend the life of your cheese:
- Wrap your cheeses snugly in the paper in which it was shipped. This is "cheese-friendly" paper that is semi-permeable, allowing the cheese to "breathe" without imparting the slight chemical residue left behind by the plastic wraps. It is a good idea to take the cheese out of its wrapping every so often so that it can "catch its breath" and you can assess if you might want to go ahead and finish it or incorporate it into a recipe.
- Store your wrapped cheese in a zip-lock bag or cling-film. This will give the cheese its own little microcosm, protecting the cheese from faster drying and helping to keep off-flavors from developing.
- Store your cheese in your refrigerator’s vegetable compartment where the humidity is higher.
- Store your individually wrapped cheeses together in the same drawer of your refrigerator. This way, the moisture in the individual cheeses works together in keeping the entire group moist.
Please remember to leave your cheese out a minimum of an hour before consuming. This allows the aromas and flavors to come to their fullest glory.
Q: Can you ship my order today?
No. It takes 24 hours for us to receive and process your order.
Q: I’m going to be out of town that week. Can I pick a later ship date?
Yes. We can delay your Cheese of the Month shipment as needed. Please call Customer Service toll-free at (877) 797-1200 to arrange a later ship date.
Q: Will my entire order ship together?
In general, we pack all cheeses and accompaniments to ship in a single box. In the event that your order is too large to fit in one box, we will contact you and confirm any additional shipping charges that may apply. Please note that we do occasionally sell items that must ship in their own box. Where these items are non-perishable, you can designate separate shipping options.
Q: Can I place my order today and have it ship at a later date?
Yes! During the checkout process, you will be prompted to select a future ship date. Please note that additional charges will apply on orders shipping Friday for Saturday Delivery.
Q: Will UPS leave my package, or do I have to be home to sign for it?
We ship all of our cheese with signature release, and UPS will leave the package at the recipient's address without a signature, presuming that it is a safe and secure area.
Q: Can I suspend my subscription for a few months?
Yes. At any time you may suspend your subscription for reactivation at a later date. You will not be penalized or “lose” any shipments.
Q: I live in NYC – can I pick up my order?
We have a retail cheese counter located in the Artisanal Fromagerie & Bistro at 2 Park Avenue South. You can stop in to pick up some cheese or place your order for pickup by calling 212-532-4033.
Q: Can I select the cheeses I receive each month?
(I don’t like goat cheese – don’t send me any! I am pregnant and cannot eat unpasteurized cheese – don’t send me any! What if I don’t like the cheeses I recieve?)
Each month, our Affineurs hand-pick three cheeses for our Cheese of the Month collection. Cheeses are selected for peak flavor, maturity, and seasonality. Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate requests to make substitutions or omissions in our monthly collections. If you have specific cheese requests, please feel free to browse our selection and hand-pick your ideal cheese course!
Q: Can I redeem my gift certificate through the website?
At this time, all gift certificates must be redeemed over the phone. Please call us toll-free at (877) 797-1200, and one of our Customer Service Representatives will be happy to take your order. Please have your gift certificate number handy to redeem your credit.
Q: When will my gift note/enrollment letter be sent?
Please note that, in registering for the Cheese of the Month Club or Connsoisseur's Cheese Club, you are purchasing a club membership. If you select a ship date for your membership, that is the day we will process your order and send the gift note/enrollment letter to the gift recipient. Please note that this does not affect the date Cheese of the Month will ship.
Q: Can I receive my cheese over the weekend?
Yes! We can ship cheese on Friday for Saturday Delivery, where available. Please note that additional charges will apply.
Q: Can you ship to a PO Box?
As PO Boxes do not accept shipments via UPS, we cannot deliver to a PO Box.
Q: Can I select a faster shipping method?
Cheeses are shipped to arrive by the end of the following business day. If you would like to receive your cheese earlier in the day, please call Customer Service toll-free at 877-797-1200 to arrange for a faster shipping method, where available. Please note that additional charges may apply.
Q: Help! I gave you an incorrect address! Can I change the delivery address?
If your package has shipped, we are happy to contact UPS and do our best to reroute your package. Please note, however, that we cannot be held responsible for time-in-transit damage due to address errors.
Q: Can the Cheese of the Month gift note/enrollment letter be sent to me?
Our Cheese of the Month and Connoisseur's Cheese Club gift notes/enrollment letters are produced and sent automatically to the gift recipient. We are unable to reroute them to an alternate address.
Q: Can I redeem part of my gift certificate and retain the balance for a future order?
Q: Can I select a slower shipping method?
Due to the perishable nature of our product, all of our cheese ships to arrive overnight. Orders shipping within the regional Northeast are guaranteed overnight via UPS Ground; orders shipping outside the regional Northeast must ship UPS Next Day Air Saver. For orders consisting entirely of non-perishable items, multiple shipping options are available.
Q: Can I apply my gift certificate to the Cheese of the Month Club/Connoisseur's Cheese Club?
Yes! Gift certificates can be applied to the cost of the Connoisseur's Cheese Club; as Cheese of the Month Club is billed monthly, gift certificates can only be applied to the initial month’s payment.
Q: Can I stagger my Cheese of the Month Club shipments?
For Cheese of the Month, as well as the Connoissuer's Cheese Club, the shipments will be shipped in consecutive months unless the recipient calls to postpone.
Q: My cheese arrived warm/my gel pack melted – should I be concerned?
Our packaging is designed to keep your cheese healthy for up to two days, and all of our cheese ships to arrive overnight. The gel pack will certainly warm and melt as heat is transferred between it and the cheese en route. If your package takes longer than 24 hours to arrive and you have concerns about the quality of your cheese, please contact Customer Service immediately.
Q: Can I ship internationally?
Absolutely. We will ship anywhere in the world, provided the customer assumes all shipping costs and liability for the quality of the cheese due to time-in-transit. Please note that our website will not generate accurate shipping charges for international shipments, even those going to Canada or Puerto Rico. If you would like specific information regarding costs, please call us toll-free at 877-797-1200 and speak to Customer Service.
Q: Can my gift certificate be used at your restaurants?
No. There are gift certificates available for purchase at both the Artisanal Fromagerie & Bistro and Picholine that can be used towards meals and cheese there. To inquire, please call (212) 725-8585 for the Artisanal Bistro and (212) 724-8585 for Picholine.
Q: Help! UPS delivered while I/my gift recipient was out of town!
Please make sure you or your gift recipients will be in town on the date that your cheese arrives. We are unable to replace cheeses that perish due to recipients being out of town at the time of delivery. Furthermore, please note that our boxes are clearly marked "perishable" on the outside and we are not responsible for items received but not opened.
Q: Help! My order was completed before I could finish my gift message!
Please email your complete gift message to firstname.lastname@example.org, and Customer Service will make sure it is added to your order.
Q: Help! My package was damaged in shipment.
We are sorry for the inconvenience! Please call customer service toll-free at 877-797-1200 so that we can arrange a return of damaged goods and/or a reshipment of cheeses.
Q: Can I pay for my entire membership at once?
Cheese of the Month is only available to be billed monthly. If this is not a payment plan that suits you, other options are The Connoisseur's Cheese Club which is available for a one-time payment, or any of our other gift baskets and collection.
Q: Where is my favorite cheese?
I’ve ordered it from Artisanal before, and now I can’t find it! Are some of your cheeses not listed on the website?
Much of our product is produced on a very small scale by artisanal producers, and availability can vary greatly due to any number of factors, including seasonality. If you do not see what you’re looking for, please email Customer Service at email@example.com.
Q: Hey-I didn't order this cheese!
Somtimes our production team with throw some sample pieces of cheese in with your order. There is no charge for this, it's just a great way for us spread our product and for you to get a chance to try somthing new!
Q: Can you make/ship a party platter?
A large party platter can be purchased a-la-carte and easily assembled with three to five cheeses plus condiments and a serving tray. Large, pre-assembled party platters are available through our retail cheese counter in the Artisanal Fromagerie & Bistro at 2 Park Avenue South. You can place your order for pickup by calling 212-532-4033. Unfortunately, pre-assembled, large party platters cannot be shipped UPS in a way that ensures the quality of our product.
Q: Why am I missing one of the cheeses I ordered?
If an item was inadvertently omitted from your order, please contact Customer Service toll-free at 877-797-1200 so that we can arrange a complimentary reshipment of your missing cheese.
Q: Can I order a custom basket or tin?
The cheeses in our collections are hand-selected by our Affinage team. If you are interested in creating your own assortment, please consider our Make your Own Gift Box or Make your Own Cheese Platter, both lovely gifts available for customization.
Q: Why did I receive a substitution cheese?
Occasionally a cheese in your order may be temporarily unavailable or simply not up to our very high quality standards. In an effort to accommodate you as quickly as possible, we may make a substitution of a comparable cheese that we think you’ll enjoy. We do try to notify all customers in the case of a substitution.