It's Alpine Cheese Season!

Head over to Murray's far-too-sporadic blog Big Cheese Stories for a fantastic overview of alpine cheeses (my personal favorites), including information about when and how (and even why) they are made, and what characteristics make, say, Abondance different from Comté.

Cheese of the Week - Piave

Similar to Parmigiano Reggiano, Piave is a pressed, aged cheese made from pasteurized cow's milk in the Veneto region of Northern Italy. It is younger and more moist than its cousin, and its dense granulated pâte is much less crumbly and much easier to slice. Its complex flavor and aroma are puncuated by a sharp nuttiness, as well as subtle butterscotch and almond flavors. This bold taste would pair well with an equally bold wine, red or white.

Kosher Cheesemaking Chart

The prohibitions regarding kosher cheese are quite confusing (as are many rules of Jewish observance when you get down to it), but our friends at the Kosher Blog have posted a handy and informative chart detailing the rules of kashrut as applied to the cheesemaking process. In addition, there is a larger "Executive Summary" outlining the larger issues at hand. The terminology does require some familiarity with both cheesemaking and kashrut, which I realize some readers of this blog may not have. However if you are an inquisitive mind, a good hard dose of Google will help you understand.

Rebuilding After a Recall

Adding fuel to the fire of the raw milk debate, here's an interesting AP story about Maple Shade Farm, a cheesemaker in Western Massachusettes attempting to build back their business following an FDA recall due to trace amounts of listeria in their Berkshire Blue cheese.

Michael Miller, who runs the creamery, argues that the number of listeria in the cheese was scant, and that the FDA used an incubator as well as a synthetic growth hormone to grow enough bacteria to show up on a test. Even so, apparently as few as 1,000 cells of listeria can cause infection, and given the public health risks, even trace amounts are unsafe.

Second Annual American Artisanal Treasure Awards

Winners of the Second Annual American Artisanal Treasure Awards have been announced. What are those awards, you ask? Norbert Wabnig, proprietor of the The Cheese Store of Beverly Hills, created the awards to "honor producers of handmade specialty foods across the United States." Aside from cow, goat and sheep's milk categories, Wabnig also hands out awards for best olive oil, best condiment, best bread, best sausage, best marmalade or preserve, best honey and best sweet.

Cheese of the Week - Pecorino di Grotto

Pecorino, the Italian word for "sheep," is often used as a generic term referring to cheeses made from ewe's milk. Pecorino di Grotto literally means "sheep cheese from a cave." It is a pressed, cave-aged cheese whose natural rind imparts a sweet, moldy flavor to the firm, salty p&#226te. Pair with a bold red from southern Italy.

Dairy Science

Just found this site: Dairy Science and Food Technology. The site has loads of information about the many bacterial cultures used in cheesemaking. Not for the science phobic.

E. Coli Outbreak in UK

Reuter's is reporting today on an outbreak in the UK of E. Coli in some unpasteurized French cheeses. The recall involves some varieties of A.O.C. Camembert made in France by Laiterie Fromagerie du Val d'Ay-Etablissement Reaux.

I don't know much about this firm, but according to their website they harvest milk from "auprès d'une centaine de producteurs," or nearly 100 producers. That means that milk from many different cows are being comingled to make the cheese, and only one of those cows has to be infected with E. Coli to infect an entire batch of cheese. Then again, they do say on their website that they check for bacterial quality of the milk they use, so it's puzzling that they could've missed such an outbreak.

In any case, this will certainly heat up the debate over the safety of young raw milk cheeses.

Transit Strike Hurts Cheese Mongers

Regardless of where you stand on the Transit Strike, you can't help but notice how it affects the world of cheese. A visit to the Bedford Cheese Shop's Online Catalog displays a sad message: We apologize for the inconvenience, but the online cheeseshop is closed during the MTA strike. I wonder if the brick-and-mortar store is also closed.

Chocolate and Cheese

Fonterra, a multinational dairy company based in New Zealand, recently introduced chocolate-flavored cheese slices called CHESDALETM, in markets across Asia. Within six months of launch in Taiwan, they amassed 10% share of the cheese market according to this article.

The thought of combining chocolate and cheese would make most Americans sick, but it can actually be quite a

Syndicate content