Voicings - Paul Kindstedt Ph.D.
Paul Kindstedt Ph.D. is a professor at the University of Vermont, Codirector of the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese, and author of American Farmstead Cheese (2005), and Cheese and Culture (2012).
"I came out of Cornell thinking that cheese was simply made in very large factories with large machines and that we, as dairy scientists, reengineer cheese. But when I got to the University of Vermont in January of 1986, the first project I got roped into—almost against my will—was to work with an artisan cheesemaker in Vermont to make an authentic bloomy-rind cheese. It was unheard of at the time. But this Vermont cheesemaker had entered into a joint venture with a cheesemaker in Normandy, so we made about 800 pounds of Brie and Camembert and Coloumiers . . . it was the last thing I wanted to do. Most of my work had been at the absolute other end of the industry, for large pizza manufacturers making pizza cheese."
"I had to relearn the traditional techniques . . . it’s all the same science, it’s just the implementation that’s different, replacing automation with handmade technique."
"But the public reaction to the cheese project was unbelievable. We were covered by reporters from the Burlington Free Press . . . the Boston Globe and the New York Times . . . television affiliates came in with their film crews. And Vermont Public Radio, which used to publish a magazine, asked me to write an article about this strange “new” way of making cheese. I was in shock, thinking, “What’s going on here?” I had no idea. I was going to work on pizza cheese!"
"The science is becoming so sophisticated that it’s getting easier to produce really wonderful cheeses that look traditional but can be made on a much larger scale in automated facilities . . . at half the price. That’s the future . . . and the future challenge of artisan cheese."
"We’ve always been about training cheesemakers to make really good cheese, intrinsically good. But there are extrinsic characteristics that we’re beginning to appreciate at VIAC, the values projected onto the cheese by the public that gets them to pay more . . . like humane treatment of animals or stewardship of the environment, the working landscape, small farms, connections with the cheesemakers, etc. All that is wrapped up in customer choices. These extrinsic characteristics need to be clearly communicated to the public."