curdnerd's blog

The Endless Debate: Pasteurized or Raw?

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In this recently published article from Gourmet Retailer Magazine, James Mellgren gives a very thorough account of the raging debate between pasteurized and raw milk, particularly as it relates to cheese.

His point about the possibility of quality cheeses made from pasteurized milk is well taken; and if you've ever tried the Mt. Tam or Red Hawk cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery, you might be inclined to agree. In the final paragraph of the article, Mellgren says

The Olympics of Cheesemaking

On March 21st through the 23rd, the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association will host the 26th biennial World Championship Cheese Contest at the Monona Convention Center in Madison, WI. According to the press release, "dairy manufacturers from more than 20 nations are expected to send more than 1,500" cheeses to the competition, to be judged by an international panel of dairy experts.

Cheeses (and butters) will be judged similarly to olympic sports such as figure skating. Judges will start with a perfect score of 100, and

Cheese of the Week - Chimay Grand Cru

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Made in Belgium by Chimay, the same company behind the fantastic Belgian beers of the same name, Chimay Grand Cru is a semi-hard pressed cheese made from pasteurized cow's milk. Aged for 6 weeks, this is a Trappist cheese in the best sense. It is fairly pungent, super creamy, and, best of all, delicious.

Possible Listeria Drives Recall in Australia

Australian Cooperative Foods is recalling their Cracker Barrel Extra Sharp 500g cheese due to fears of listeria contamination. Since this cheese is made from pasteurized milk, this outbreak should serve as further evidence that listeria is not just a problem for raw-milk cheeses, but is a larger problem for food safety in general. Read the full story here.

Kraft Sees Organics Going Mainstream

NOT FOUND: 1 alignDavid Johnson, president of Kraft Foods' North American Commercial Group, said on Wednesday that he sees the organic movement as "a freight train that's going to pick up steam. I don't think it's a fad." This announcement, made at the Reuters Food Summit in Chicago, comes in the wake of a recent announcement by Wal-Mart that they will begin stocking twice as many organic products as before. Read the full story here.

Feta! Feta! Feta!

Yesterday's New York Times ran a wonderful article about the decision by the European Union to grant "protected designation of origin" status to Greek Feta cheese. If it is possible to determine the greatest cheeses in the world by how often they are badly imitated (e.g. Brie, Parmigiano, Emmenthaler), then Feta is by all means a world-class cheese. Protecting its name in such a way can only help both producers and consumers alike.

One of my favorite ways to serve Feta cheese is to combine it in a summer salad with watermelon and fresh mint. The article in the

Artisanal Cheesemaking on the Rise

The Home News Tribune, out of central New Jersey, posted a story the other day about the recent growth of the artisanal cheese business. The article mentions Franklin Peluso, maker of the famous Teleme cheese, who recently relocated to Maine from California. According to the article, "U.S. cheese consumption grew from

New Look and Feel?

Well, for now anyway. I was having trouble with the old "theme" I'd been using. Apparently in some browsers the page was quite garbled. So I've reverted to a simpler presentation, at least until I iron out the kinks in the old one. Please leave a comment if you have any opinions about this new look and feel or about the old one.

Cheese & Sound

For an audio engineer who also happens to be a curd nerd (that would be me), the latest entry at Cheese by Hand is a dream come true. On that page are three short sound bytes from Claypool and Davie's trip to Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont.

Kosher Wine, Cheese, & Chocolate Tasting

For those of you in New York City (and those not far), the Kosher Wine Society will be hosting a Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate tasting on Thursday March 23, from 7:30 - 9:30 PM. They will be offering samples of 7 different wines from Tishbi Vineyards in Israel. No specifics are given about the type of cheese or chocolate that will be on hand.

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