Monday, May 20, 2013

Rant: How Do You Melt Cheese In A Fridge?

It sounds like an impossibility, or maybe an enigmatic Zen koan. However, I learned this weekend that you can melt cheese in a fridge. And that knowledge didn't make me happy.

Over the weekend, I stayed at a hotel in Montreal while attending TasteCamp, a wine bloggers' conference. Montreal is a great city for food lovers and I spent some time wandering through the stalls of the Jean-Talon Market, a large and compelling food market. While I was there, I purchased a number of different local cheeses from Quebec, including a superb blue cheese. As many people know, good cheese isn't cheap.

When I returned to my hotel room, I placed the cheeses into the cool fridge in the room. Which any normal hotel guest might do. Inside that fridge, I also placed some water as well as a bottle of wine. Everything seemed normal until the next afternoon when I opened the fridge to find that it was actually hot inside of it! Hot? Why the hell was it hot inside a fridge?

Several of the cheeses had started to melt due to the heat. I immediately contacted the front desk but they were less than helpful. I was told that sometimes when the outer door is closed, the fridge overheats. Though no one ever warned me of that contingency, and there was no warning posted on the fridge. I was also told that the fridges were not meant to keep anything cold. Instead, they were allegedly intended to keep things "fresh." This made no sense to me.

The manager was not on duty so I was not able to raise this issue with her. I will have to email her about this issue. Later that evening, the hotel placed a small box of chocolates in my room, as a little way to make me happier over this issue. That was not successful.

This episode helps to point out an important issue that arises every summer. Summer is a major time for traveling and food & wine lovers often explore markets, shops, wineries, farms and more. They are likely to purchase various foods and drinks but they still need to transport their purchases home. If such items are just placed in your car, the summer heat could damage or destroy them, and your money will have been wasted. Those valuable items need protection.

It is essential to have a cooler and/or insulated bag in your car at all times when you travel. You never know when you might need it. They will keep your food and drink cool and safe during the hot weather. I always travel with both a cooler and insulated bag, and often find use for them in my travels. I would hate to lose a fine bottle of wine or two to the heat while driving home with it from a wine region. I hated to lose some of my Quebec cheese to the heat of the hotel fridge.

This summer, don't lose your valuable food and drink. Make sure to keep it properly insulated while traveling. And be wary of hotel fridges. They might not actually keep your items cool like they should. Instead, they might turn into an oven, like the inside of your car on a hot summer day.

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