Next weekend, October 22-24, is the latest installment in the "Counter Culture" series of seminars put on by Culture Magazine! These free seminars offer education and tastings for members of the cheese industry!
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!
Daniel McElligott, a consultant with the Cheese Coalition, spent a semester last fall researching and developing a detailed examination of the role cheese played in early American history, entitled Farmsteads to Factories: Industrialization of the American Industry. Daniel used cheese as a window to examine changes in immigration patterns, gender roles, and industrialization in the early United States, specifically in New England, New York, and Wisconsin.
Over the weekend a great gathering on cheesemongers took place in Long Island City, Queens! Adam Moskowitz, Columbia Cheese, and Larkin Cold Storage host cheesemongers from across the United States and Canada for a weekend on education, competition, and bonding. This event has grown to now be a twice a year event, one in San Francisco each January and each June in New York.
This past Friday, the team here at the Oldways Cheese Coalition had the opportunity to attend a tasting and talk on artisan cheeses produced in Mongolia. This event was put on by Cheese Coalition members, Culture Magazine, along with Michael Morrow of the Mongolian Artisan Cheesemakers Union LLC (MACU).
The third edition of Mondial du Fromage, an international competition of cheesemongers and producers wrapped up this week in Tours, France. This 3 day event celebrates the international culture of cheese and the dairy industry through a trade show, a cheesemonger competition, as well as a cheesemaking competition featuring 650 cheeses from around the world.
As artisan cheese continues to become a more common staple of social gatherings and snacks, more and more cheese novices and experts are branching out into different styles of cheese. One of these styles is alpine cheeses, many people may have had an alpine style cheese and not realized it, classics like Gruyere, Emmental, Comte, and Fontina come to mind. So what makes these cheeses distinctly alpine style?