By Lorrie Baumann
A new study highlights the cost for American cheesemakers and the entire dairy industry if European rules restricting the use of the “feta” and “parmesan” names were to be enforced in the United States as well. The only real good news in the report is that although small and medium-sized firms would be significantly pressured by lower cheese prices, they might be able to survive by marketing their niche and specialty cheeses. The report was funded by the Consortium for Common Food Names, a dairy industry group.
According to Informa Economics IEG, a market research firm specializing in the agriculture industry, the adoption of rules prohibiting American companies from using the “feta” and “parmesan” names would diminish demand for American-made cheeses now sold under those names, and the negative impacts could also affect American-made cheeses labeled Asiago, Gorgonzola, Romano, Havarti, Neufchatel, Fontina and Muenster. Eventually, those restrictions could also affect Brie, Mozzarella, Ricotta, Camembert, Gouda, Raclette, Edam, Provolone, Burrata, Emmentaler and even Cheddar cheeses.
Under European Union regulations, only cheesemakers in the specific geographic area in which certain cheeses originated are allowed to use names that have been ruled as geographic indicators. At present, there are 250 cheeses that have been granted such protection in the EU or are in the process of acquiring it. If U.S. cheese manufacturers were forced to adhere to these regulations, they’d likely be required to suspend use of names that have commonly been used in the U.S. for decades. The report suggests that the only U.S. cheeses that we can assume will never be affected by such restrictions are those sold as blue cheese, Monterey Jack, Baby Jack, Brick, Swiss, Colby, Baby Swiss and processed cheeses like Velveeta or Kraft Singles.
If these restrictions were to be imposed in the U.S. the immediate impact might be to reduce consumption of U.S.-produced cheeses by 578 million pounds, or 5 percent of total U.S. cheese consumption in 2015. At current market prices, that would be worth about $2.3 billion. Delayed impacts would be even greater, with consumption of U.S.-produced cheeses possibly falling by a projected 1.71 billion pounds.
Those drops in demand for American cheeses would have a significant effect on the U.S. dairy industry as a whole, with the possible effect that milk prices to the dairy farmers could fall by significantly over a 10-year period. That would put some dairy farmers out of business and reduce the size of the nation’s dairy cow herd. “The lower dairy prices do boost domestic consumption of other dairy products, and it does increase exports, but not nearly enough to offset the drop in cheese consumption,” according to the report.
Overall, the consumer reaction if the only mozzarella cheese they could find in their supermarket was imported from Italy and their cheddar could only come from Britain would trigger a sharp contraction in the U.S. dairy industry. The report predicts that dairy farm revenue could fall by 5.5 percent to 12.7 percent over three years, leading to revenue losses of $5.8 billion to $13.2 billion.
Rogue Creamery’s Echo Mountain Blue and Mount Mazama were both awarded silver medals at the 29th Annual World Cheese Awards in San Sebastian, Spain. The World Cheese Awards is the largest and most respected competition of its type in the world. There were 260 judges who gathered to taste and score more than 3,000 cheeses from 31 different countries this week. “It’s wonderful to be in a place to share the message of giving thanks at the holiday tables of the families and friends of cheese lovers from this international audience. It’s a great recognition to have our passion and sustainable practices reinforced at the World Cheese Awards, as Echo Mountain is ranked once again among the world’s finest blue cheeses,” said David Gremmels, Rogue Creamery Cheesemaker and President.
This was the seventh time in the last 10 years that Rogue’ Creamery’s Echo Mountain Blue has been honored with a medal in the mixed milk category at the World Cheese Awards for placing among the top three cheeses in the world, including a gold medal in Dublin in 2008.The remarkable taste of this award-winning blue reflects a montage of rich flavors made from the combination of this unique regional blend of grass-based, hormone free cow and goat’s milk.
The flavor is clear, crisp, brilliant and complex with its subtle hint of goat’s milk. Brightly hued veins traverse the body of this cheese, infusing it with a bold, earthy flavor. It has a semi-soft texture with a silky- smooth mouth feel and tangy finish.
Schuman Cheese has just launched a new flavor of its beloved crisp snack with Cheddar Cello Whisps, an all-natural, rBST-free, gluten-free, high-protein snack. This flavorful, protein-rich snack hit the shelves this month nationwide.
“As a company, our mission is to enhance everyday eating experiences with the highest quality cheese. With Cheddar Cello Whisps, we were able to provide consumers with a new delicious way to enjoy our hand-crafted artisan cheddar,” said Ilana Fischer, Vice President of Innovation and Strategy at Schuman Cheese. “In fact, cheddar cheese ranks as the top flavor requested in the US, so this innovation made perfect sense. Making Cheddar Cello Whisps was the natural choice for the next flavor in the Whisps portfolio.”
The newest flavor was called for by Cello Whisps lovers who loved the Parmesan-flavor Whisps and wanted another choice. Cello Whisps has already received recognition in the industry with several awards including a gold at the 2016 World Cheese Contest.
“The space is inundated with fake ingredients and unhealthy choices, and Cello Whisps brings a uniquely wholesome and delicious option for those wanting a better-for-you cheese snack,” continued Fischer. “What better way than to use our expertise in artisan cheese to bring a pure cheese snack to the market.”
Cheddar Cello Whisps are a real-cheese snack that won’t leave orange fingers and regret behind it. They provide consumers with a delicious, protein-rich treat that does not consist of a long list of unfamiliar ingredients. The snack is all-natural, gluten and wheat-free and provides an excellent source of calcium with 10 grams of protein and zero percent carbohydrates per serving. It’s easy to enjoy them as-is or toss them on a salad or appetizer plate for flavor and crunch.
Cello Whisps are available to purchase throughout the U.S. in Costco, Publix, Shoprite, Stop & Shop, Amazon.com, and many others. To learn more about Cello Whisps’ new product, Cheddar Cello Whisps and Schuman Cheese visit CelloWhisps.com and SchumanCheese.com.
Di Bruno Bros. has launched two new cheese spreads– Pinot Grigio & Fig or Smoked Gouda & Beer with Pimentos. These two unique flavors are the first new spreads added to the lineup in over a decade!
Di Bruno Bros. cheese spreads are made with real Wisconsin cheddar, and are inspired by family recipes. They are sold in the Philadelphia retail shops, in national grocery partners and on dibruno.com to ship anywhere in the country.
The line of spreads includes six other options: Spicy Abbruzze, Roasted Garlic & Herb, Port Wine, Gorgonzola, Provolone & Chianti, and Cheddar & Horseradish.
Emilio Mignucci, third-generation owner and Vice President of Culinary Pioneering says, “Our customers across the country, and especially Philadelphia, love the original six spreads and people were asking for more. I’m excited that we were able to bring them two incredible new spreads…. We think our grandparents would be proud. And, while it’s a proud moment for us, it’s been even more fun for us to work together with our team and create something new and delicious for our customers.”
Brick cheese is an American original and is among the first washed rind cheeses produced in the U.S. It was developed in 1877 by John Jossi, a Swiss-born cheesemaker.
As Jossi did, Joe Widmer uses real brick to press his cheese, the same bricks his grandfather used in 1922. After pressing, the cheese is placed in a salt brine for 11 hours, then moved to a warm, humid curing room where it is washed and turned daily for seven days. It is then packed in parchment paper and foil.
It reaches peak flavor at four to five months. This semi-soft cheese has a pleasant, earthy flavor that intensifies with age. Widmer’s Aged Brick is also available with caraway seeds.
Suggested retail price is $12.99 to $15.99/pound.
Widmer’s Cheese Cellars
Annually on the first Thursday of December since 2010, The Cheese Shop of Concord has taken delivery of a gigantic wheel of Crucolo cheese, imported from a tiny hill town in northern Italy.
And each year, the festivities surrounding the cheese’s arrival in Concord, Massachusetts, have grown to include more and more segments of the town’s population. From students to selectmen; from merchants to the merely curious. But one thing is certain: No one can resist a cheese parade.
Beginning at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, December 1 at the intersection of Main and Walden streets in this historic town’s center, the colorful and boisterous parade provides Concord and its visitors with a half hour of old fashioned fun and unity.
A team of draft horses and a cart haul the cheese down the street, accompanied by the blare of brass instruments and scores of high-spirited dancers from nearby Concord Academy, while the crowd cheers and waves Italian flags.
After a brief round of speeches, echoed Occupy-Wall-Street style, the cheese is ceremoniously halved and quartered on a raised stage for all to watch, and is sampled among the crowd.
Amazingly, the cheese – a mild asiago fresco made from cow’s milk — is sold by the pound and generally sells out in less than 14 days.
NOTE: For 2016, Concord’s Colonial Inn is offering a Crucolo Day Package to anyone who’d care to expand their parade viewing experience into an overnight. It includes a great rate, some local beers, and a half pound of Crucolo cheese.
Wisconsin cheesemaker Andy Hatch of Uplands Cheese was recently named one of Martha Stewart’s 2016 American Makers.
Now in its fifth year, the Martha Stewart American Made program is a nationally recognized platform designed to discover the next generation of American artisans. Hatch is one of 10 artisans hand-selected by Martha Stewart and the editors of Martha Stewart Living for their entrepreneurial passion and contributions to their communities in the fields of food, style, design, and technology.
“I’d like to thank Martha Stewart and the editors of Martha Stewart Living for not only valuing the quality of our cheese, but also for recognizing that our success can serve as an example to other family farms looking to add value to their milk,” Hatch said at the awards ceremony held in New York last month. “I spent years as a cheese-making apprentice in Europe, and there’s nowhere I’d rather make cheese than in southern Wisconsin. We have everything we need right here to make world-class cheese.”
Hatch has been making cheese at Uplands Cheese in Wisconsin for over 15 years. They are most well-known for their Wisconsin original Pleasant Ridge Reserve, an alpine-style cheese made in the summer months while the cows are on fresh pasture. Pleasant Ridge Reserve is the most-awarded cheese in American history and the only cheese to have won both the American Cheese Society’s and U.S. Cheese Championship’s Best of Show. This time of year, Hatch and his team are busy making Rush Creek Reserve, a soft-ripened cheese wrapped in spruce bark that has developed a cult following since its 2010 debut. The cheese, only available mid-November through December, sells out almost immediately after its release. Beginning November 14, Rush Creek Reserve will be available online direct from Uplands Cheese or at specialty cheese retailers nationwide.
For more information about Martha Stewart’s American Made program visit www.marthastewart.com/americanmade.
A stampede of new flavors is coming out of Maple Hill Creamery’s award-winning 100 percent grass-fed organic dairy milk shed. The new products unveiled at Natural Products Expo East included Maple Whole Milk Kefir, Strawberry Banana and Apple Cinnamon Cream on Top Yogurt and Coffee, Strawberry and Mango Peach Whole Milk Drinkable Yogurt as well as the new Fiore Di Latte Whole Milk Fresh Mozzarella crafted by the artisans at Antonio Mozzarella with Maple Hill Creamery’s 100 percent grass-fed milk. This whole milk fresh mozzarella tastes more complex than most brands, solely due to the unique flavor characteristics of the grass-fed milk.
“Our product development process is a little different than most companies, because we use only the highest-quality organic fruit and real flavor extracts, and don’t add any coloring, artificial flavors, gums, or thickeners. We rely on real ingredients to flavor our products, not ‘natural’ flavors, which we think taste quite artificial, and mask the unique flavor of our 100 percent whole grass-fed milk,” said Pete Meck, Maple Hill Creamery’s Founding Partner and Vice President of Operations and Product Innovation. “Using real food ingredients to subtly flavor our yogurt and kefir products also means that we have more added fruit than most brands do. And, like always, our amount of added cane sure is about half of that for identical flavors of other organic brands.”
The Maple Whole Milk Kefir is packed with belly friendly probiotics, is super creamy, mildly tart and refreshing. This variety is sweetened and flavored using only organic maple syrup and a touch of organic vanilla extract. Maple Hill Creamery also offers Whole Milk Kefir in Plain, Vanilla and Strawberry varieties.
Maple Hill Creamery is expecting its new Strawberry Banana and Apple Cinnamon Cream on Top Yogurt to inspire consumers who haven’t yet tried this artisanal-style yogurt, also available in Plain, Vanilla, Maple, Orange Crème, Wild Blueberry and Lemon, to give the line a try. The Coffee, Strawberry and Mango Peach Whole Milk Drinkable Yogurt offers a 12-ounce meal in a bottle and joins a line that also offers Plain, Vanilla, Maple, Orange Crème, Wild Blueberry and Lemon varieties.
All the new flavors are available nationally beginning in November, 2016. The Maple Hill Creamery milkshed now numbers over 85 small farms, and is looking to transition at least several dozen more farms to certified 100 percent grass-fed in 2016. Maple Hill Creamery products are available nationwide in more than 6,000 retailers, including many specialty and independent retailers.
Sartori® stood out in an international crowd at the Global Cheese Awards, receiving 11 accolades at the highly regarded annual contest. SarVecchio® Parmesan, Sartori’s most decorated cheese, was crowned Best USA Cheese and Best Non-European Cheese. BellaVitano® Gold and Classic Parmesan were also honored, receiving gold medals in their respective categories. Sartori’s newest release, the south-of-the-border inspired Chipotle BellaVitano, continued its 2016 winning streak with a silver medal.
Each of the award-winning wheels sent to the Global Cheese Awards began with Sartori family farms and the finest Wisconsin milk, which was then handcrafted into first-class cheese by master cheesemakers.
“Since 1939, we’ve relied on talented people and hard work to achieve success,” said Jim Sartori, CEO and Owner of Sartori. “There are no shortcuts when you’re crafting a premium, artisan product and we’re humbled to see the work of our team members and family farms pay off.”
A time-honored tradition since 1861, The Global Cheese Awards are an opportunity for the world’s best cheesemakers to showcase their talents. The 2016 contest included more than 1,000 entries spanning from countries across the globe.
By Lorrie Baumann
Cheese has always been a very convenient, very versatile food, but CHEVOO is upping the convenience factor with a product that offers both trendy flavors and enough versatility to make it an attractive option through the entire day.
CHEVOO is cubed fresh goat cheese marinated in an infused olive oil and packed in a 7.1-ounce glass jar. Service as a snack can be as easy as dipping into the jar and spearing out a cube of the cheese, but CHEVOO is also useful as a convenient ingredient to toss over a salad or into an omelet pan. “When I was importing and distributing artisan cheese in Australia, 50 percent of our customers were chefs. They’d buy a lot of different cheeses for their menus, but they would typically not use any one cheese on breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. Marinated cheeses, because they’re flavorful, crumble, spread and melt well, could be stirred through a dish or crumbled on top of a dish, so chefs were using them throughout the day on all three menus. Foodies saw that trend and followed suit,” said Gerard Tuck, who founded CHEVOO together with his wife Susan.
The Tucks were living in Australia, with Gerard working with an importer and distributor of artisan cheese, when they decided that they’d like to strike out for themselves in the United States. “We just decided to pack our bags and move to California and start the process of seeing whether it was something we could do,” Gerard said. “Having worked for the largest importer and distributor of artisan cheese in Australia, with marinated cheeses being our biggest category, it was a telling sign that this category had potential in the U.S.”
Gerard spent the first year in the U.S. attending Stanford’s graduate business school, living on campus with his wife and three children. “As an international person wanting to move to the U.S. and start a business, it’s a bit tricky to get a visa,” Gerard said. “Going to school was a shortcut to getting the visa; you get a 12-month honeymoon after graduating to get established.”
After 15 months developing the recipes for CHEVOO, which is now offered in three varieties: Aleppo-Urfa Chili & Lemon, California Dill Pollen & Garlic and Smoked Sea Salt & Rosemary, the product was launched onto grocery store shelves in September 2015.
CHEVOO is made from goat curd sourced from local goat dairies in northern California. Then, a flavoring is blended through the goat curd. Olive oil is infused with a botanical that’s crushed and steeped into the olive oil over four to eight weeks. “It’s a very slow and natural process to get the flavor into the olive oil,” Gerard said. “Our most popular blend has smoked sea salt and cracked pepper blended through the goat curd. We then pair that with a rosemary-infused olive oil. It works nicely in that you get one flavor that pops out from the goat curd and one that pops out from the oil.”
The product, selling for $9.99 for the 7.1-ounce jar, has been in stores up and down the West Coast for about 12 months now, and it’s been enough of a hit that the Tucks are moving their operation out of a shared space in southern Oregon and into a new facility in Healdsburg, California, that’s currently under construction. “We’re absolutely planning to stay in the U.S. We love it here. It has a mix of cultural elements that are very familiar to us, and some that are quite different, quite exciting,” Gerard said. “The depth to which the U.S. culture embraces entrepreneurship and innovation is unique and really attractive.”
For more information, visit www.chevoo.com.