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Lifeway Foods Inaugurates Kefir Production at New Waukesha Facility

Lifeway Foods, Inc. has announced the beginning of kefir production at the former Golden Guernsey dairy plant in Waukesha, Wisconsin, that it acquired in May 2013 to increase its manufacturing capacity. Lifeway has been processing raw milk and producing its own bottles at the plant for more than a year, following major renovations as well as food safety certification of the upgraded facility.

With the global market for probiotics expected to reach $52.34 billion by 2020, the company plans to capitalize with its 170,000-square-foot plant that will more than quintuple the combined manufacturing capacity of Lifeway’s three existing facilities to support ongoing growth in the company’s kefir business. The company plans to produce its top-selling products in Waukesha, taking advantage of both the large space and new high-speed manufacturing equipment to meet the demand for nutritious products from consumers throughout the country.

The Waukesha plant currently employs moire than 40 people, of whom more than 25 percent are former Golden Guernsey employees who lost their jobs after a bankruptcy filing closed the 58-year-old business.  Lifeway purchased the shuttered plant for $7.4 million.

“We acquired the Golden Guernsey plant because we urgently needed more production capacity,” said Julie Smolyanksy, President and CEO of Lifeway Foods. “Renovating the building to meet our specific manufacturing and packaging needs has been a top priority, and the start of kefir production in Waukesha is an important milestone that will help drive the next chapter in the company’s growth.”

Bonne Bouche from Vermont Creamery

By Lorrie Baumann

Vermont Creamery’s Bonne Bouche cheese, discovered around 2002 by New York’s famous French chefs, is now becoming well known among consumers as well as a favorite among cheese mongers. The cheese has won multiple awards from the American Cheese Society, a gold award from the World Cheese Awards, and a gold sofi for Best Cheese or Dairy Product at the 2012 Fancy Food Show.

“We often submit that cheese because it’s our favorite. For Vermont Creamery, it is a well-known cheese. We’ve won a lot of awards with Bonne Bouche, and for the industry and for artisanal cheese, it’s a great example of where the market is going,” says Allison Hooper, Co-founder and Cheesemaker of Vermont Creamery. “It’s got consumer customers who really love it and ask for it by name.”

“It’s a very difficult cheese to make, so we’re super-proud of it,” she continues. “When it wins, it gets a nod that it’s a great cheese deserving of accolades.”
Bonne Bouche is an ash-ripened goat milk cheese made in traditional French style. Consumers often say it reminds them of a brie, and those famous French chefs likened it to the Selles-sur-Cher produced in the Centre region of France. It’s sold in a four-ounce round that’s shipped in a wood box at an early stage of its aging that gives the retailer a few weeks to keep it in the case at peak ripeness. The wood box allows the cheese to continue to breathe, wicking away excess moisture and also helping to prevent the cheese from drying out. “It’s also tall enough so that when the crate is shrink-wrapped with a perforated film, the film doesn’t touch the rind, which is important with these geotricum [mold] rinds. It’s very important that the rind continues to breathe,” Hooper says. “It’s the intention that, when the retailer gets this cheese, we’ve done everything right, so they don’t need to do anything with it except merchandise it.”

When the Bonne Bouche is fresh, it has the acidic tang expected of a fresh chevre. Then as it ages, the paste mellows and loses its acidity and gains a melon-ish sweetness with some of the yeasty taste of the rind. “It’s quite aromatic, but when you put the cheese in your mouth, it’s less strong-tasting than its aroma,” Hooper says. “It’s surprisingly mild, for the fact that it’s made of goats’ milk and that it is a ripened cheese with an aromatic rind.”

As it ages, the Bonne Bouche gets softer and sometimes gets a little runny under its edible rind. Consumers really like that softness, Hooper says. “It has a nice amount of salt in the cheese, which is important to the proper growth of the rind, and the saltiness add great flavor to the cheese.”

“While it is made from goats’ milk, it doesn’t have the characteristics that we think of with goat cheese. It tends to lose its goatyness as it ripens, she adds. “For those who don’t reach for goat cheeses, they are surprised by how much they like it.”

 

This story was originally published in the August 2015 issue of Gourmet News, a publication of Oser Communications Group.

The New Super-Trendy Vegetable: Beets

 

By Richard Thompson

Beets are getting a whole new look this year, emphasizing their nutritional benefits while being featured in products that appeals to shifting consumer tastes. Similar to the way kale appealed to consumers last year, beets are being marketed as the new super trendy vegetable, grabbing the attention of food retailers and restaurateurs who are selling more items with beets in them than in previous years. Beet products are becoming so popular that this year’s list of sofi Award finalists include two different beet products that were up for three different awards between them.

The past five years have seen beets become more common place as people are more educated about them, says Natasha Shapiro of LoveBeets, known for their popular beet-featured product lines. Adding to the 20 percent increase in distributorship they have seen in the last year is their variety of beet juices and line of beet bars. The Love Beets health bars are coming in Beet & Apple, Beet & Cherry and Beet & Blueberry with all three made gluten-free and with clean ingredients. “We are making beets more fun, accessible and upbeat,” said Shapiro, “We’re modernizing the idea of beets.”

Blue Hill Yogurt, whose Beet Yogurt is a sofi finalist, combined the earthy sweetness of beets with the acidic tangyness of yogurt for a natural and unique trend that could push people looking for something new in milk products. Amped with raspberries and vinegar to maximize the natural earthy sweetness of the beet, Blue Hill wants people to think outside of what is normally thought of with beets and yogurt. “This is a savory yogurt that offers some sweetness, but not fruit-like sweetness. It’s a great afternoon yogurt,” said David Barber, President of Blue Hill.

Beetroot Rasam Soup from Cafe Spices, another finalist for the sofi Award, is competing in two categories, New Products and as a Soup, Stew, Bean or Chili Product. The colorful soup that pairs roasted beets pureed into a tomato base with tamarind, garlic, chiles and mustard seeds is an inspiration from the company’s culinary director and chef Hari Nayak.

Featuring naturally occurring nitrates that help extend exercise performance, fitness communities have long embraced the healthy benefits of beets. Coupled with social media and a general health conscious mindset in consumers, appreciation of beets has spider-webbed through mainstream markets, according to Shapiro. “Its the one vegetable people feel strongly about, Shapiro said, “At events, people just want to share their experiences about beets.”

Adam Kaye, Vice President of Culinary Affairs for Blue Hill, who worked with Dan Barber on their sofi nominated Beet Yogurt, goes one step further. Kaye has seen the appreciation of beets growing beyond it being a fancy potato and finds the whole vegetable incredible. “There is something about the beet that straddles the savory and the sweet,” said Kaye, “You can taste the earth in beets.”

This story was originally published in the August 2015 issue of Gourmet News, a publication of Oser Communications Group.

 

The New Super-Trendy Vegetable: Beets

 

By Richard Thompson

Beets are getting a whole new look this year, emphasizing their nutritional benefits while being featured in products that appeals to shifting consumer tastes. Similar to the way kale appealed to consumers last year, beets are being marketed as the new super trendy vegetable, grabbing the attention of food retailers and restaurateurs who are selling more items with beets in them than in previous years. Beet products are becoming so popular that this year’s list of sofi Award finalists include two different beet products that were up for three different awards between them.

The past five years have seen beets become more common place as people are more educated about them, says Natasha Shapiro of LoveBeets, known for their popular beet-featured product lines. Adding to the 20 percent increase in distributorship they have seen in the last year is their variety of beet juices and line of beet bars. The Love Beets health bars are coming in Beet & Apple, Beet & Cherry and Beet & Blueberry with all three made gluten-free and with clean ingredients. “We are making beets more fun, accessible and upbeat,” said Shapiro, “We’re modernizing the idea of beets.”

Blue Hill Yogurt, whose Beet Yogurt is a sofi finalist, combined the earthy sweetness of beets with the acidic tangyness of yogurt for a natural and unique trend that could push people looking for something new in milk products. Amped with raspberries and vinegar to maximize the natural earthy sweetness of the beet, Blue Hill wants people to think outside of what is normally thought of with beets and yogurt. “This is a savory yogurt that offers some sweetness, but not fruit-like sweetness. It’s a great afternoon yogurt,” said David Barber, President of Blue Hill.

Beetroot Rasam Soup from Cafe Spices, another finalist for the sofi Award, is competing in two categories, New Products and as a Soup, Stew, Bean or Chili Product. The colorful soup that pairs roasted beets pureed into a tomato base with tamarind, garlic, chiles and mustard seeds is an inspiration from the company’s culinary director and chef Hari Nayak.

Featuring naturally occurring nitrates that help extend exercise performance, fitness communities have long embraced the healthy benefits of beets. Coupled with social media and a general health conscious mindset in consumers, appreciation of beets has spider-webbed through mainstream markets, according to Shapiro. “Its the one vegetable people feel strongly about, Shapiro said, “At events, people just want to share their experiences about beets.”

Adam Kaye, Vice President of Culinary Affairs for Blue Hill, who worked with Dan Barber on their sofi nominated Beet Yogurt, goes one step further. Kaye has seen the appreciation of beets growing beyond it being a fancy potato and finds the whole vegetable incredible. “There is something about the beet that straddles the savory and the sweet,” said Kaye, “You can taste the earth in beets.”

 

Chobani Builds On Success Of Afternoon Snacks With Three New Flip Products

Chobani introduces three new Chobani Flip™ products as part of its largest portfolio expansion to-date, building on the tremendous success of offering better options throughout the day. The introduction pushes the boundaries of Greek yogurt across the company’s entire portfolio—including Chobani® Oats, Chobani Simply 100®, Chobani Flip™, Limited Batch Chobani Greek Yogurt, Chobani Kids™ Greek Yogurt Tubes and Chobani Indulgent™.

Chobani Flip is the company’s offer for a better afternoon snack, combining creamy Greek yogurt with real, delicious, natural ingredients to mix in. After record-breaking success in the first-half of 2015, Chobani is introducing Peanut Butter Dream, Coffee Break Bliss and a Limited Batch Strawberry Summer Crisp, for a taste of the season served in an iconic red cup. The new products were inspired by creations crafted at the Chobani SoHo® cafe in New York.

“This year we’ve really pushed the flavor boundaries of Greek yogurt as we continue making products that give our fans better options throughout the day, and we’ve been especially blown away by the love for our Flip products,” said Peter McGuinness, Chief Marketing Officer, Chobani. “In the first half of this year Flip has become one of the biggest successes in dairy since we sold our first cup of Chobani.”

Building on the success of its Limited Batch portfolio, which taps into unexpected, unique fruits and ingredients, Chobani is launching Limited Batch Plum and bringing back popular Chobani Watermelon, both available through August.

In addition to new flavors, shoppers will also find an updated look with the reveal of new packaging across the portfolio that highlights core attributes of each product, such as “Only Natural, Non-GMO Ingredients” and “40% Less Sugar Than Regular Fruit Yogurt” on traditional Chobani products and “75% Less Sugar Than Regular Fruit Yogurt” on cups of Chobani Simply 100.

The newest additions to the Chobani family include: Chobani Kids Greek Yogurt Pouches Featuring Disney’s Doc McStuffins. Chobani Kids Pouches will have a new look – Strawberry and Vanilla + Chocolate Dust Pouches will now feature Disney Junior’s Doc McStuffins on packaging. With 25 percent less sugar and twice the protein of the leading kids’ yogurt,  Chobani Kids Pouches are a delicious and nutritious snack in partnership with The Walt Disney Company’s Magic of Healthy Living Initiative.

Limited Batch Chobani Watermelon and Plum: Spoon in and embrace the summer with new limited batch Plum with real slices of plum and the return of limited batch Watermelon, now on shelves through August 2015. The newest products celebrate the best flavors of the moment using only real fruit and natural ingredients.

Chobani Flip Peanut Butter Dream, Coffee Break Bliss and Strawberry Summer Crisp: Three new flavors join the Chobani Flip family—a collection of sweet snacks that pair delicious Greek yogurt with natural mix-ins.

 

Two New Cheese Products Imported From Italy

 

Ambriola Company Inc. is introducing Auricchio brand Gorgonzola and Mascarpone.

Auricchio’s cheese producing expertise expanded its operations to include Gorgonzola. It produces Gorgonzola Dolce, Sweet Gorgonzola and Gorgonzola Piccante – a natural Gorgonzola. Each wedge is beautifully packaged and individually sealed to ensure freshness.

Auricchio’s world-class mascarpone uses only the freshest cream to produce its soft, creamy and spreadable mascarpone. Customers will appreciate its delicate, mild flavor and how easily it blends with many other ingredients.

The Auricchio brand is a respected name in the cheese industry which is known for quality, premium imported cheeses from Italy. 

 

Traditional Craftsmanship in Appel Farms Cheeses

Appel Farms PFEach batch of Appel Farms cheese is made in the traditional manner using milk from the farm’s own herd of dairy cows. Appel Farms was founded 35 years ago by Jack Appel, who was trained in Europe and brought those cheesemaking skills with him to the U.S. Today, his son, John Appel, takes the milk fresh from the cow and makes artisan cheese just as his father taught him. Controlling the process from the milk source to the finished product ensures consistent quality and flavor, and John strives to maintain that consistency in the cheese while improving efficiency in the process and adding to the line of cheeses.

Appel Farms Gouda has a creamy, buttery texture and nutty flavor. Varieties include Smoked, Mild, Jalapeno, and Sweet Red Pepper. Appel Farms cheeses are available in retail as well as restaurant and food service sizes.

For more information about Appel Farms, call 360.384.4996, email john@appel-farms.com or visit www.appel-farms.com.

 

For more about Appel Farms and other cheeses, check out the Spring 2015 Cheese Guide from Gourmet News, a publication of the Oser Communications Group.

Goat Cheese Steps into the Mainstream

 

By Dave Bernard

Once a cheese of last resort for those intolerant or allergic to cow dairy products, goat cheese has grown in popularity in the last 15 years to achieve mainstream status. With many chefs preferring the bright, tangy flavor of fresh chèvre over creamier cow’s milk cheese varieties, goat cheese is “here to stay,” according to Lynne Devereux, Marketing Manager at Laura Chenel’s Chevre.

The rise of goat cheese involves a confluence of factors, from consumer hunger for more healthful foods to the desire for local and artisan products, a taste-adventurous Millennial-generation consumer group along with increasingly knowledgeable and flavor-seeking consumers in all categories, to the goat dairy industry’s dedication of more resources to education.

Goat cheese’s increasing popularity among American consumers is attributed to pioneering chef Alice Waters, who co-founded the Farm to Table movement of the 1980s and, working with Laura Chenel, intoduced diners at her Chez Panisse restaurant to goat cheese-inspired dishes. The news about goat cheese spread from there. “A lot of famous chefs worked at her restaurant first, and they went on to open restaurants across the country,” explained Jennifer Lynn Bice, CEO and President of Sebastopol, California’s Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery. “Diners would enjoy these wonderful goat cheese dishes, and then go into stores looking for the cheese; and from there it just mushroomed all around the country.”

While consumers came for the flavor and bright white, clean appearance of goat cheese, they stayed for the health benefits. Goat dairy products often work for those with lactose intolerance, and they contain a different saturated fat composition from that found incow’s milk. And it’s also higher in calcium, vitamin A and often protein. Some varieties contain just a third of the fat and calories of cow’s milk cheese. goat cheese got a hoof in the door, and to grow the category.

While the cream cheese-like fresh chèvre, popular in baking and cooking, leads the category, an increasing number of small and some large producers have developed more and varied, quality cheeses, with producers like Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery offering unique varieties like Roasted Chile, Three Peppercorn and Garlic Chive chevres.

Producers have also developed harder, aged cheeses more conducive to snacking, sandwich topping and other uses. Cypress Grove Chevre of Arcata, California, partners with a Dutch cheesemaker to produce the dense and chewy Midnight Moon, a Gouda-type cheese boasting a brown buttery flavor with caramel undertones. Laura Chenel’s Chevre’s rich and nutty Tome is a pale ivory, firm cheese that slices and grates easily; and Redwood Hill Farm’s offerings include Aged Cheddar and Smoked Cheddar.

“When I first started here 15 years ago, we were trying to convince people that goats gave milk,” said Lynne Devereux. “So the trajectory in the last 15 years has been fantastic.”

 

Sartori Cheese Releasing Limited Edition Extra-Aged Goat Cheese

 

Sartori Cheese will be releasing its Limited Edition Extra-Aged Goat Cheese to specialty cheese shops throughout the United States during the months of June and July.  Hand-crafted in small batches using 100 percent goat’s milk, this specialty cheese is only released twice during the year.

Sartori’s Extra-Aged Goat Cheese is made within Sartori’s Italian hard-style tradition.  Unlike a typical soft, fresh goat cheese, Sartori’s is extra-aged for a minimum of 10 months.  “This goat cheese is surprisingly different than what most expect.  When we age this in our curing room, the flavors begin to balance out and in the end the cheese delivers a savory, smooth, and creamy finish with hints of caramel,” shares Sartori Master Cheesemaker, Pam sartoriHodgson.

As with many award-winning cheese, Sartori’s Extra-Aged Goat has a wonderful story of origin.  A few years back this cheese was developed by Hodgson and her team.  “The idea has always been there to experiment with goat’s milk.  Growing up, I was very familiar with goats.  My dad purchased a couple goats to help trim his lawn on the farm and later in life my children showed the animals during county fairs.  When starting with the creation of this cheese, our hurdle was to understand how to craft a hard goat’s milk cheese and stay true to our Italian roots.  We decided to partner with LaClare Farms to source the freshest, highest quality goat’s milk.  From there, we created a hard goat’s milk cheese and aged it.  It’s the steps within the cheese make process that allowed us to continue within our tradition of hard-style award-winning cheese,” adds Hodgson.

Sartori first introduced this cheese in 2012 and received a Gold Medal at the Global Cheese Awards held in the United Kingdom.  Since its inception, Sartori has garnered seven awards for this very special cheese.

Sartori’s Limited Edition Extra-Aged Goat Cheese will be available at specialty cheese shops throughout the United States June and July.  Additionally, a limited supply of wedges will be available for sale at the Sartori online cheese shop,http://shop.sartoricheese.com/.

Burnett Dairy Cooperative Introduces New Snack Cheeses

Burnett cheesesBurnett Dairy Cooperative introduces fun new ways to snack. New String Whips, Artisan Cuts and new flavors of String Cheese will add excitement to the retail cheese case by offering on-trend flavors and convenience to entice cheese lovers of all ages.

String Whips are Burnett Dairy’s award-winning natural mozzarella string cheese in a fun, spaghetti-like shape. They are the perfect snack for kids and adults and are available in Creamy Original and Homestyle Ranch.

String Cheese is a favorite go-to snack for kids and adults. Bringing some fun to the category, Burnett Dairy’s three new varieties of natural mozzarella string cheese are blended with meats and spices to create protein packed fun flavors: Zesty Teriyaki, Hot Pepper Beef and Pepperoni Pizza. These flavors join Burnett Dairy’s Smoked, Ranch and Creamy Original. Each piece is individually wrapped for easy, on-the-go freshness.

Artisan Cuts are flavorful and convenient for snacking, entertaining and cooking. These cracker-sized pieces have a hand-cut appearance in a variety of sizes making them ideal for crackers, sliders and cheese trays – without the cutting and mess! Available in seven fun varieties, each in a resealable bag: Bacon & Onion Colby, Roasted Garlic Monterey Jack, Rosemary Herb Cheddar, Italian Sun-Dried Tomato Monterey Jack, Aged Cheddar, Colby and Fancy Jack. Artisan Cuts are available in select markets only.

Burnett Dairy Cooperative, farmer-owned since 1896, is a place where farm families work side-by-side with crop and dairy experts to produce the highest quality milk, from the ground up. A place where a Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker then creates cheese in inventive flavors and crafts new varieties in limited batches.

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