Attending The Science of Artisan Cheese Conference
The first ever Conference on the Science of Artisan cheese was held at the end of last month in the beautiful setting of North Cadbury Court in Somerset, also home to famed Montgomery’s cheddar.
This was a non-profit initiative, co-sponsored by Neal’s Yard Dairy and the Specialist Cheesemakers Association in the UK, with the concept being the idea that if the dialog between cheesemakers and scientists is expanded and enriched, both parties will benefit. The goal of the conference was to bring together scientists studying the basic principles upon which successful cheesemaking depends with practitioners at the artisan level.
In addition to scientists and cheesemakers, there was also broad participation from the industry and public health professionals, for whom a thorough understanding of the principles of raw milk cheese production are of great importance.
To that end, dairy scientists from France, Ireland, the UK, Canada and the US were invited to speak on a wide range of topics ranging from Microbial Diversity and Interactions presented by Drs Rachel Dutton and Ben Wolfe of Harvard through to Quality and Control presented by Ivan Larcher of Larcher Consulting, Randolph Hodgson of Neal’s Yard Dairy and Mateo Kehler of Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont.
The conference lasted two full days and to say I was stoked to attend, is a major understatement. With nearly 100 attendees some of whom had traveled from as far away as Australia, there was also a strong showing from the US, both on the side of the presenters and attendees.
Given the regulatory climate both in the US and elsewhere, the timing of the conference couldn’t have been better. With initiatives currently being spearheaded on behalf of cheesemakers and retailers by the American Cheese Society, this was a perfect opportunity to exchange ideas as well as to learn and collaborate with others. I’m excited to say that the benefits of this exchange are already becoming apparent in the ways we had hoped for.
I have a strong feeling that years from now, this conference could well be regarded as a pivotal moment in the move towards intelligent regulation.
With grateful thanks to the American Cheese Society that made it possible for me to attend.