I just heard that that Sally Jackson, owner and cheesemaker of Sally Jackson Cheeses in the Okanagan Highlands, WA has announced she is selling her animals and her business.
This comes after a recent recall of her cheeses, compounded by a separate demand that her business meet Grade A Dairy standards - something not normally required of cheesemakers making aged cheeses.
I was interested to read the recent listing in the WSJ of their top ten cheese shops. Somewhat surprisingly, every single one is located in Europe, which I can’t help feeling shows remarkable lack of imagination, let alone knowledge of some of the fantastic cheese stores also to be found in the US, many of which have been in operation for well over a decade. (Mental note here to compile a list of my own.)
Although I haven’t been to all the cheese shops in the WSJ (give me time!), I do know a few of them and worked for several years at one of them. So here’s my personal run-down of some of those mentioned. For Poncelet in Madrid, we wrote a piece about their store in the June 2009 issue of culture. You can read the article here http://culturecheesemag.com/poncelet_madrid
L’Amuse - Netherlands
The great thing about working behind a retail counter is that you never know who you’re going to meet.
Twelve years ago, while working for Cowgirl Creamery in Point Reyes Station, I struck up a friendship with Sean Thackrey, a well-regarded local figure, best known for his extraordinary winemaking abilities involving unusual grape varieties. In addition to creating a successful winemaking business, Sean has also amassed a world-class collection of antiquarian books and texts on wine production, the subject of which made for some lengthy and lively discussions between us.
These works, some of which pre-date medieval times, are extraordinary and, on a couple of occasions, he allowed me to spend a leisurely afternoon, gently looking though some of these volumes, wrestling with Latin and early French (wishing I’d paid more attention to both at school) and generally be awe-struck by the weight – both physical and informational - that these books represented.