In 2018, members will have the opportunity to participate in two cheese-giveaways. Membership is a wonderful way to support our work and benefit from all the work we do, but also support education of consumers like you.
Over the course of the past year, our Research Associate Daniel has been compiling a series of profiles on cheesemaking in several states across the USA. Through this project we have gained insight into cheesemaking methods and regulations across the country. Our final state for this project was Maine, a state with regulations different from any other state we have looked at up to this point.
October was American Cheese Month and if you follow us on Instagram you know we’ve been celebrating every weekend with an extension of our “Fromage Friday” weekly member cheese posts called: “Weekend Wedge!” These posts celebrated American Cheesemakers who are Members of the Oldways Cheese Coalition!
As the weather begins to cool, you may notice the resurgence of a popular and cheesy food trend of the last few years: Raclette! You may see this dish being served at get-togethers amongst your friends and family or on the newest seasonal menu at your favorite restaurant, however you may be wondering if this is a new culinary wonder or a classic dish? The answer is the latter but read more below to find out the history and significance of this hearty, warming dish!
Throughout this year we have been conducting research on cheesemaking in the United States. We now have information on several states, covering approximately 1/3 of total cheesemaking in the country. Most recently, we have completed our investigation into Pennsylvania, which is the first state we’ve delved into that the majority of cheese production is done using raw milk!
One of the raw milk cheeses on exhibit at this year’s Cheese festival in Bra was Pecorino di Farindola. This is a particularly interesting cheese as it is the only cheese made in Italy (possibly the whole world) in which the milk is coagulated by a pig’s rennet!
During our recent look into cheesemaking in New York, we noticed a saddening trend of several smaller cheesemakers closing the doors of their creameries or transitioning their farms to other agricultural operations in an effort to stabilize their revenue. We decided to take a deeper look into this trend, not just in terms of cheesemaking in New York but the dairy industry as a whole in order to give us a better picture of the hurdles these producers are facing and the impact it is having throughout the state.
On September 5th, a new book from Brownen and Francis Percival entitled "Reinventing the Wheel: Milk, Microbes, and the Fight for Real Cheese" will be released! This book will explore the changes in the cheese industry as production has shifted from single-farm production to massive scale factory production, as well as changes in regulations directed at cheese production over the last century. Our work is touched on in the book and we were lucky enough to receive an advanced copy!
The Oldways Cheese Coalition is formed by cheese producers, importers, retailers, and consumers from around the world. Part of our vision is that if you are eating better Parmigiano Reggiano, you are also probably also choosing local cheeses that represent the same values that you admire. Therefore, the work of the Coalition is a global endeavor. We learn a lot from European cheesemakers and allied organizations promoting artisanal cheese productions in France and elsewhere. At the same time, we are committed to learning more about the dairy and cheesemaking traditions of Latin American, Asia and Africa. We are fortunate to have wonderful supporters everywhere. Just this past April for the third annual Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day we had celebrations in South Africa, Brazil, and India.
Mammals whose milk is used for cheesemaking, such as cows, goats, sheep, and water buffalo are known as ruminants. Ruminants are mammals who obtain their nutrients through digestion of plant matter and are further classified by their four chambered stomachs, each chamber performing a specific function in the digestion process. Two of these chambers are essential in the production of milk that is directly related to the cheesemaking process: the rumen and the abomasum.
This past week was the 2017 American Cheese Society Conference and Competition; this year’s event took place in Denver, Colorado and featured 2024 entries from 281 producers in the competition portion! Cheeses and other cultured products such as yogurt and kefir are separated into categories based on the type of cheese, aging length, moisture content, and milk type. Of the 281 producers who entered their products into the competition, 11 members of the Oldways Cheese Coalition won 23 awards for their cheeses, yogurts, and kefir! On top of that, 34 producers of raw milk cheeses took home 49 awards! Read more below about the winning cheeses and their producers:
Many cheese novices shy away from blue cheese in fear of overwhelming flavors and odors as well as the visual aspect of blue mold, that when misunderstood can be perceived as cheese that could never taste good outside of a salad or as a dip for chicken wings. However, with a better understanding of the history behind blue cheeses and their methods of production even those who prefer the mildest of cheeses can slowly work their way through the spectrum of blue cheeses and find one to fit their palate!