There is no single one perfect cheese for you, there are simply a vast array of incredible cheeses, each uniquely ideal in their own way. When I’m looking for my perfect cheese, I consider three things: the time of year, the mood I’m in, and what I plan to do with the cheese.
Joining our staff this month as a full-time intern is Daniel McElligott, a cheesemonger and student from Melrose, Massachusetts.
Daniel’s cheese career began in 2013 at Whole Foods Market in Melrose, where he worked behind the cheese counter, offering weekly themed tastings of selected cheeses and engaging customers through cheesy suggestions and conversations. Daniel can now be found working as a cheesemonger behind the Salumi e Formaggi counter at Eataly Boston. Among Daniel’s favorite cheeses are Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Springbrook Tarentaise, Quadrello di Bufala, Il Nocciolo, and Pata Cabra.
Daniel is also an undergraduate student at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. Majoring in history, Daniel found a link between his interests in cheese and 19th Century American history among Northeastern’s Consortium on Food Systems Sustainability, Health, and Equity. This common ground between his passion for cheese and love of history has allowed Daniel to pursue a cooperative education opportunity at Oldways in the Cheese Coalition. Check out our future blog posts for updates on projects Daniel will be working on with us!
With high rates of obesity, it is estimated that 45 million people in the United States alone are dieting every year. Many of today’s popular diets cut out specific foods or food groups. Dairy is oftentimes one of the first foods eliminated when wanting to lose weight. Even though cheese and dairy are important sources of essential vitamins and minerals, dieters tend to demonize it because it can be high in fat and calories.
Two American cheesemakers that embody this spirit of harmonizing tradition with ingenuity in cheesemaking are Cypress Grove Chevre and Cowgirl Creamery. We are delighted to welcome both of these companies as members of the Oldways Cheese Coalition as their unwavering commitment to artisan methods and quality expresses the heart and soul of what our Coalition represents.
How is it possible that most of us are so intimidated when we approach the cheese counter at our local supermarket, when we have been eating cheese for all of our lifes? Probably, the mystification either comes from a growing selection of cheeses from far and more diverse places; or from the many news reports and opinions saying that the cheese we eat is not healthy. Talk about making grocery shopping a complicated and stressful journey. Here at Oldways, we love good traditional food, but the most important thing for us is to empower you with information to make you choose the best food for your lifestyle. Lets get some basic information first and then on to some serious recommendations.
Yes, that is what the American Society for Microbiology published in its recent FAQ on cheese. The report published February 2015, and available free online, introduces a host of ways in which micro-organisms lead the way to healthy, delicious, and varied cheese.
We learn from this publication that "Streptococcus thermophiles, Lactobacillus helveticus, and Lactobacillus delbrueckii ssp. are associated with Swiss- and Italian-type cheeses." While Lactococcus lactis and Leuconostoc mesenteroides are integral part of making Cheddar and Gouda style cheeses. Even the ammonia smell of some cheeses can be attributed to the presence of microbes. Trust us, after reading the entire booklet, you will never see moldy cheese the same way.
No time to read the report? Why not download this engaging episode of Gastropod. The host interviews MIT Anthropologist Heather Paxson (a member of our Academic Advisory Committee), cheese expert and University of Vermont professor Paul Kindstedt, and Tufts University microbiologist Benjamin Wolfe on cheese, history, and science.
To find out more on this topic, you can also read from Prof. Rachel Dutton (also a member of our Academic Advisory Committee) and Benjamin Wolfe in the academic journal Cell (Vol. 158, Issue 2, p422-433) published on July 17, 2014.
Our resources section is also a great place to find peer-reviewed articles. We provide small introductions to all of them, and you can download them free of charge.
Your membership ensures that we continue researching on traditional cheeses and promoting its benefits.
- Carlos Yescas
Over a decade ago, we sponsored an unbiased review of the FDA's Domestic and Imported Cheese Compliance Program's findings. The final findings suggested that overall incidences of E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, and L. monocytogenes decreased over the sampling period concluding that control and regulatory compliance had increased.