Great article from Pressdemocrat about Vella Cheese Company post Ig Vella. Looks like the fourth generation of the family is grabbing the reins with ease:
“You know, it’s not like I closed a lucrative law practice last June and decided to jump into making cheese. Dad had congestive heart failure in October 2009, and he never came back full time after that. So we had all that time before he died to figure things out. It takes 13 people to run this business. Our head cheesemaker, Charlie Malkassian, has been here 32 years. My son, Gabriel Luddy, in training to be a cheesemaker, has been here 11 years. And I’ve been here 31 years.”
Another great video from Food52, who paid a visit to these beer geniuses, and learned a bit about home brewing:
We cook from scratch a lot here at Food52 -- yogurt, granola, sriracha, ricotta, bread -- but before we met Stephen Valand and Erica Shea from Brooklyn Brew Shop, we'd never considered making our own beer.
It turns out that it's easy with their beer making kits, which contain everything you need but a stock pot, a strainer, and a funnel. The box comes with a gorgeous one-gallon glass fermenting jug, an airlock with plastic tubing to siphon beer into bottles, and one of the Brooklyn Brew Shop's custom grain mixes that have all the grain, hops, yeast, and spices you need to make your own delicious brew.
What’s in Store 2012, the annual trends report from the International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association, reports that consumer palates are developing, and cheese preferences are going from mild to robust, complex, and flavorful:
Bolder flavors are the hottest cheese trend as consumers venture beyond younger-aged cheeses to more robustly aged and flavorful ingredient-filled cheeses. Artisan cheeses are now flavored quite diversely, with inclusions like truffle, chipotle, wasabi, horseradish, cocoa, saffron, apricot, pear and bacon. Washed-rind and cave-aged cheeses are also popular. Some retailers now even do their own cheese aging.
The top three fastest-growing natural cheeses at retail are manchego, gruyére and gouda.
The time has come for the Wisconsin Licensed Cheesemaker Scholarship to be awarded, and Anna Landmark is the happy recipient! Who is Anna Landmark? Here's what you need to know:
Anna Landmark, a policy research director for a Wisconsin non-profit, who with her husband, owns and runs a small-scale sustainable farm in Albany, Wis., was selected from a wide field of applicants for the $2,500 annual award from Wisconsin Cheese Originals. Landmark is mid-way through the courses required for the cheesemakers license and is working to secure an apprenticeship this fall.
Wisconsin is the only state in the nation that requires its cheesemakers to be licensed, an 18-month process that involves attendance at five university courses, 240 hours of apprenticeship under a licensed cheesemaker, and a written exam at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture.
Allison Austin Scheff at Seattle Mag, is just as excited as we are to hear that Murray's is opening a handful of mini shops in Quality Food Centers (QFC) in Washington State. Heads up, Washingtonians, you're in for some cheese!
The first local mini-Murray's opens in two weeks in the University Village QFC. There'll be a FREE tasting event open to the public on Thursday, March 29th from 4pm to 7pm. I'm told the store will offer 175 cheeses, including an expansive European offering and many local cheeses (Beecher's and Mt. Townsend among them). Murray's has already opened cheese shops-within Kroger stores in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and Texas, and in King Soopers stores in Colorado.
Ever wonder how California's North Bay Area turned into the west coast's epicenter of cheese? This article from Stett Holbrook atbohemian.com gives a great history of how it all came to be, beginning with Sue Conley and Peggy Smith, of Cowgirl Creamery:
Sue Conley's timing was impeccable. As cofounder in 1997 of Cowgirl Creamery, one of the first local cheesemakers to hit the big time, she and her partner, college friend Peggy Smith, have been instrumental in the North Bay's cheese revolution. But she didn't set out to be a cheesemaker. Conley was a cook who helped start Berkeley's beloved Bette's Oceanview Diner. Smith was a chef at Chez Panisse. Both had traveled to Europe and were smitten by the regional food there. Back in the Bay Area, Chez Panisse exerted a powerful influence on cooks and diners alike, who began to embrace what was then a novel concept: eating fresh, seasonal food from local farmers and purveyors.
Here's a video from two years ago, that's still worth a watch, just to see camels getting milked!
Round 1 of the Washington Post's 6th annual beer tournament, Beer Madness kicked off the competition last week with some resounding insults, and new favorites in the beer department. Check out the this play-by-play from Greg Kitsock:
In the Crisp category, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) flip-flopped, as is a politician’s prerogative, switching his initial vote for Bell’s Lager to Fordham Helles Lager . Six of his fellow tasters agreed, with Halley Fehner praising the Helles for its “slightly floral, honeydew” taste and Palena pastry chef Agnes Chin designating it her “game-day beer with salty snacks.” But our outspoken sommelier Kathryn Bangs opted for Bell’s, finding the Helles past its prime (“smells like a frat house the morning after a kegger”).
CDC Relases Raw Milk Safety Report: finds unpasteurized dairy causes a disproportionate number illnesses
In a recent paper published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, scientists working for the Centers for Disease Control found that raw milk and other unpasteurized dairy products (including cheese) were significantly more likely to cause foodbourne illness than their pasteurized counterparts:
As we all know, Cheese Crime continues to run rampant worldwide - theft being its most common manifestation. The latest incident was in Salt Lake City, where thieves broke into deli and made off with the best meats and cheeses they could find. The Deseret News has the story:
Troy Petersen, manager of the market and deli at 1516 S. 1500 East, said the theft was discovered Monday around 7:45 a.m. The lock to the storage’s walk-in cooler, which has an exterior entrance, was broken.
“They cleared us out of all our artisan salami,” he said. “I think we had about five or six legs of prosciutto in there and cheeses and other types of cured meats. They just took all that out. It was barren.”