As charted in last summer’s Culture article Made in Japan, Japanese interest in all things artisanal cheese is undergoing a meteoric rise.
In addition to Japanese-produced cheeses finding more favor on their home turf, increased interest is resulting in more importation of both European and American farmstead and artisanal cheeses.
Over the course of the last five years, a collaborative effort has been hatching between the Artisan Cheese Exchange, based in Wisconsin and KEN International, a Japanese company owned by cheese expert Mr Hisada, to import and sell American artisan cheese through their 20+ cheese shops. The shops are clean, cheese is carefully selected and well merchandised and their staff is very well trained.
Despite relatively little external fanfare, last week saw a significant milestone for North American artisanal cheese with the official inauguration of the North American Chapter of the International Guilde de Fromagers.
The Guilde, a non profit organization, was established in 1969 by noted French affineur Pierre Androuet with a view to promoting and connecting the work of cheese professionals around the world while also helping to maintain standards of cheese knowledge.
With American artisanal cheese’s meteoric rise in recent years, it is no surprise that several members of the cheese industry from North America have been inducted into the Guilde. However until last week, they had to be inducted into other Chapters (such as Canada) since North America did not have a Chapter of its own.