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:

In the end it is all about flavor. In that regard, it is the quality of the original milk and the cheesemaker's skill and desire, rather than whether or not it has been pasteurized that will determine how flavorful the cheese will be. By necessity, a typical cheese case in the United States will be a combination of raw and pasteurized cheeses. The key is to display them all proudly, use signage to tell the story of the cheeses, and let the customers' palates decide which ones are right for them. As long as we have a choice, and the consumers are well informed, all will be well in the Cheese Department. The challenge, as Dickerson so aptly put it, is to keep the people tasting, and I might add, to keep finding them new and exciting cheeses to taste.

The key is having the choice, as Mellgren puts it, to choose between pasteurized and raw milk cheeses. If the government takes that away by outlawing all raw milk cheeses, the American consumer will be at a tremendous loss.

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