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MouCo’s Ashley Turns Heads in Madison

MouCo’s Ashley is at it again! On March 20, Fort Collins, Colo’s favorite ash-covered cheese earned a silver medal at the 30th Biennial World Championship Cheese Contest in Madison, Wis. Previously, the Ashley snagged a blue ribbon in the soft-ripened category at the American Cheese Society Conference both in August 2012 and August 2013.

MouCo Cheese Company is owned and operated by Birgit Halbreiter and Robert Poland in Fort Collins. The pair incorporated their company in November of 1999. Back then, their specialty was Camembert—a soft, buttery cheese with a mild nutty flavor. In the last several years, MouCo has introduced four additional varieties of cheese, including the award-winning Ashley in July of 2012. MouCo regulars can’t get enough of this creamy, mildly sweet cheese with its distinctive vegetable ash rind. Ashley’s sweet undertones are best complemented with a salad of bitter greens, a dollop of pepper jelly, or a glass of dry red wine.

Ashley starts the way all MouCo cheeses start: with fresh, local cow’s milk. The cheese curd is gently moved into forms that give the cheese its shape and size. Before the two-week aging process, a mixture of culture and edible vegetable ash is applied to the cheese to aid the development of Ashley’s special rind characteristics. The vegetable ash rind acts like a natural preservative, keeping the cheese extra creamy and mildly sweet. When it’s ready, this natural-rind cheese will be an ashy color with a slight white finish.

The World Championship Cheese Contest was founded in 1957 and is hosted by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association. This year, the event drew over 2,000 entries from 22 different countries; the entries were tasted and scored by 50 judges from all around the world. Ashley earned a silver medal in the open soft-ripened category, but she wasn’t the only one turning heads: MouCo’s ColoRouge, and PepBert both placed in the top ten in their respective categories at this year’s contest.

New Museum to Showcase Manchego Cheese

The former Malpica residence, a 19th century mansion in Manzanares (Ciudad Real, Spain) is to house the world’s first museum dedicated exclusively to one of Spain’s gastronomic treasures: Manchego cheese. According to Ignacio Barco, President of the Manchego Cheese Designation of Origin, and the latest generation in a long dynasty of master cheese-makers, “This initiative started out with the aim of safeguarding the tremendous gastronomic and cultural heritage that this cheese represents. We want to make sure that we never lose the expertise and tradition that make Manchego cheese such a unique and inimitable product. The best way of preserving this heritage is to spread the word so consumers know how to appreciate the real thing and reject any imitations.”

His cheese factory, which was founded at the same time as the Regulating Council in 1840, is one of the leading producers of artisan Manchego cheese and even produces its own milk. It shares this reverence for tradition with all the other cheese factories under the umbrella of the Designation of Origin.

With a production output of over 26 million pounds of cheese per year and growth of 20 percent in the last five, the devotion the D.O. cheese-makers feel for the genuine values of their tradition is quite impressive.

According to Barco, “As an artisan cheese-maker, I’m often saddened by the public’s general ignorance about our product.” This lack of information is even more evident among international consumers. “The Americans, who are real Manchego cheese lovers, are less familiar than Europeans with the Designation of Origin system. For this reason, companies that do not belong to the DO take advantage of the reputation of Manchego cheese to introduce imitations to the U.S. market which have absolutely nothing to do with the genuine article.”

But how do you differentiate an authentic Manchego cheese from a fake? “It’s very simple,” says Barco. “Every cheese certified by the Regulating Council of the DO Manchego Cheese has a double label. Firstly there’s the identifying label on the outside of the cheese, and secondly, there’s an exclusive serial number engraved in the cheese itself; these guarantee that each piece is unique.”

A characteristic flavor that visitors to the world’s first museum devoted exclusively to Manchego cheese will be able to appreciate, not only within the walls of the former Malpica mansion itself but also outside them, in the local taverns and restaurants. Manchego cheese never ceases to delight thanks to its countless culinary facets and uses.

“As the new generation of Manchego cheese-makers, we have the obligation to continue communicating and expressing who we are, what we do, the tradition we represent and the flavor of our cheeses, all of which have given us national and international renown. We need to be out there making sure that our legacy will endure,” Barco says.

Castello New York Pop-up Store Celebrates the Art of Creatively Crafted Cheese

Castello® cheese, maker of creatively crafted cheese available at grocery and fine food stores nationwide, will celebrate the art of cheese with its New York City Pop-up Store, open today through July 6 at 462 West Broadway in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood.

Over the next nine weeks, Castello will offer visitors a selection of premium cheeses; interactive tastings; elegant, made-to-order Premium Cheese Layer Cakes for celebrations; mini seminars about entertaining with cheese; experiential evenings centered around cheese; and in-store sculpting demonstrations transforming premium cheese into works of art depicting New York City landmarks. Plus, cheese lovers have the opportunity to win access to an exclusive Castello Pop-up Store grand opening party on May 14 with Chef Michael Symon, James Beard Foundation award-winning chef, restaurateur, television personality and author.

“For more than 120 years, Castello has been the source of the finest creatively crafted cheeses, bringing innovation and tradition to the art of cheese making,” said Susan Burris, Castello Brand Manager. “We pride ourselves in offering traditional regional recipes and our own uniquely crafted cheeses, always made with natural ingredients. This attention to detail comes to life in our Castello New York Pop-up Store, where food lovers can experience the true art of cheese, whether it’s for personal enjoyment, entertaining or life’s many celebrations.”

Win your way to an exclusive epicurean evening
Twenty-five food lovers and one guest will win access to a private party on May 14 to celebrate the store’s grand opening with cheese and wine. Winners will have the chance to meet Symon and will witness the unveiling of a specially commissioned sculpture of the New York City skyline, carved by renowned food artist Jim Victor entirely out of Castello Alps Selection Hirten cheese.

Cheese lovers age 21 and older can enter to win by sharing a photo that shows cheese is a work of art using the hashtag #CastelloArt by May 11 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. Winners will be drawn at random and notified on May 12. Full legal rules are available at facebook.com/castellousa.

Ongoing experiences for cheese lovers
From May 2 through July 6, the public is invited to visit the store, which will offer a wide selection of Castello cheeses for sale, including many available only for a limited time in the United States. In addition, store visitors are invited to participate in the following opportunities and activities:

  • Premium Cheese Layer Cakes – Store visitors can see examples of beautiful multilayered Castello Premium Cheese Layer Cakes made from edible cheese wheels and available for order and pickup at the store. The creatively crafted cakes, which resemble elegant, tiered wedding cakes but are made of cheese, feature two, three and four layers of different cheese varieties, embellished with edible flowers, fruits, nuts and more. The cakes will be available May 9 through July 6.
  • The Castello Cheesemonger Challenge – Store visitors are invited to participate in the Cheesemonger Challenge at the store May 9 through July 6 to test their knowledge of various types of cheese. Wearing a blindfold, they will sample three different Castello cheese varieties and guess which is which, earning an official “Cheesemonger Challenge” reward certificateCastello will also host a social “Cheesemonger Challenge” every Tuesday on its Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels. Fans will be asked to suggest a food and wine pairing for various Castello cheeses for the chance to earn a special reward.
  • Cheese Sculptures – Castello has commissioned renowned food artist Jim Victor to create three hand-carved sculptures entirely out of Castello Alps Selection Hirten cheese. Victor will transform the cheese into works of art, including sculptures of the famous New York skyline, Times Square and the Brooklyn Bridge. The first sculpture will be unveiled on May 14, with additional sculptures carved live, in-store June 4-6 and June 18-20.
  • Free Cheese Class: Creating the Perfect Cheeseboard – This mini-seminar will cover the art of creating the perfect cheeseboard using Castello cheese and various food and serving items available for purchase in the shop. Attendees will also learn how to select the right accompaniment to enhance the flavor of each kind of cheese. The class will be offered on various dates over the next several weeks.
  • Free Cheese Class: Entertaining with Cheese – This mini-seminar will cover the art of entertaining with cheese. Attendees will learn which knives to use, how to cut and serve Castello cheese, when to take cheeses out of the refrigerator, how to store them after a party and more. The class will be offered on various dates over the next several weeks.
  • Create Your Own Premium Cheese Layer Cake – Food lovers can enjoy an experiential evening learning how to make their own creatively crafted Premium Cheese Layer Cake featuring Castello cheese. Guests will learn about different styles of Castello cheese and their ideal food pairings. Then, they’ll select their favorite cheeses to create an epicurean layered cheese “cake” featuring edible decor. The class is offered for a fee on various dates and times over the next several weeks.

A store that elevates cheese making to an art: Food lovers who visit the Castello New York Pop-up Store will find a variety of items for purchase that celebrate the art of cheese. Varieties include Castello extraordinarily tangy and distinctive Danish Blue cheeses; buttery, nutty and irresistible Havarti cheeses including Creamy, Aged, Light and gourmet flavors; exceptional Alps Selection cheeses crafted in the Alpine tradition; and super-premium Unika collection handcrafted, uniquely styled artisan cheeses. Many items to elevate the enjoyment of cheese are also offered, including flatbreads, fruit pastes, fig spreads, chutneys, jams and jellies, as well as cheese preparation and serving utensils.

To learn more about Castello cheese, find delicious recipes and more, visit castellocheese.com.

Nancy’s Announces Non-GMO Project Verification

The family owned and operated Springfield Creamery announced today that its legacy brand of Nancy’s Organic Dairy products is now Non-GMO Project verified through the Non-GMO Project – making the Nancy’s brand one of the few Non-GMO Project verified organic yogurts with national distribution. Nancy’s Organic Lowfat Kefir and Nancy’s Organic Lowfat Cultured Cottage Cheese are the first Non-GMO Project verified kefir and cottage cheese currently on the market.

“Folks continue to be concerned about the possibility of GMOs in their foods and we share this concern, which is why we have taken the steps to verify that our cultured organic dairy products do not contain GMO ingredients. The Non-GMO Project verification gives us that extra level of transparency that our customers are looking for,” says Co-owner Sheryl Kesey Thompson, of the family-owned and operated Springfield Creamery. “Getting verified is a very thorough process, so we are pleased to be able to share this news with our customers.”
Verification by the Non-GMO Project is a rigorous program that includes traceability, segregation, and testing at critical control points. Securing Verified status confirms Nancy’s Organic Dairy products are produced in compliance with the Non-GMO Project Standard, meaning that ongoing testing of all GMO risk ingredients, facility inspections and annual audits take place to ensure that the company is meeting standards for GMO avoidance.
The Non-GMO Project now verifies that the following Nancy’s products are Non-GMO Project Verified:
  • Nancy’s Organic Whole Milk Yogurt
  • Nancy’s Organic Lowfat Yogurt
  • Nancy’s Organic Nonfat Yogurt
  • Nancy’s Organic Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Nancy’s Organic Nonfat Probiotic Blackberry Greek Yogurt
  • Nancy’s Organic Nonfat Probiotic Blueberry Greek Yogurt
  • Nancy’s Organic Nonfat Probiotic Raspberry Greek Yogurt
  • Nancy’s Organic Nonfat Probiotic Strawberry Greek Yogurt
  • Nancy’s Organic Whole Milk Probiotic Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Nancy’s Organic Lowfat Cultured Cottage Cheese
  • Nancy’s Organic Lowfat Cultured Cottage Cheese Fruit on Top-Strawberry
  • Nancy’s Organic Lowfat Plain Kefir
  • Nancy’s Organic Lowfat Blackberry Kefir
  • Nancy’s Organic Lowfat Blueberry Kefir
  • Nancy’s Organic Lowfat Peach Kefir
  • Nancy’s Organic Lowfat Raspberry Kefir
  • Nancy’s Organic Lowfat Strawberry Kefir
  • Nancy’s Organic Nonfat Fruit on Top Yogurt- Blueberry
  • Nancy’s Organic Nonfat Fruit on Top Yogurt-Strawberry
  • Nancy’s Organic Nonfat Yogurt Maple
  • Nancy’s Organic Nonfat Yogurt Vanilla
Nancy’s has additional products in the process of being verified; visit here for a full list of the current Nancy’s Non-GMO Project Verified Products.
With a line of more than 100 cultured dairy and soy products, Springfield Creamery is one of the few family owned and operated creameries in the US, currently spanning three generations of the Kesey family. Still committed to small batch production and doing things the old-fashioned way, all Nancy’s dairy and soy products are free of cane sugars, additives or anything artificial. It’s this commitment to providing the healthiest products to the largest number of people that has earned Springfield Creamery recognition, including Oregon Tilth’s “Organic Producer of The Year” award, Oregon Organic Coalition’s 2010 “Processor of The Year” award, Edible Portland’s 2012 Local Hero Award for Best “Food Artisan,” and Prevention Magazine’s 2014 “Cleanest Package Food Awards.”

Young Children Have Excess Saturated Fat And Sodium In Their Diets, New Research Finds

Specific foods consumed by young children are leading to excessive intake of saturated fat and sodium in their daily diets. New research presented today at the Experimental Biology 2014 conference shows cheese, hotdogs, whole and two percent milk are among the top foods and beverages contributing to saturated fat and sodium intakes of toddlers and preschoolers.

Since milk is key in children’s diets and a top contributor of many important nutrients including protein, calcium, vitamins A, D, B12; thiamin and riboflavin, the recommendation is not for parents to limit milk but instead to offer lower fat options such as 1 percent and skim. Other sources of saturated fat should be limited in the diets of young children.

The new findings are from a recent analysis of the 2008 Nestle Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS), the largest, most comprehensive dietary intake survey of parents and caregivers of young children. These insights may have implications for helping address childhood obesity among two- to four-year olds in the United States.

“The first years of a child’s life are a critical period of development. Instilling good eating habits during this time can help put a child on the path to a healthy future,” said Kathleen Reidy, DrPH, RD, and Head of Nutrition Science, Nestle Infant Nutrition. “Our findings indicate snacks are a significant portion of young children’s diets, and families can play an important role by planning nutritious snacks, especially when on-the-go.”

Data from the recent FITS analysis shows that while young children are snacking more frequently at home, snacks consumed outside the home add about 50 additional calories to their daily diets.

Drs. Reidy and Denise Deming of Nestle presented two abstracts on the recent analysis of FITS 2008 during the “Nutrition Education: Childhood Obesity Prevention I” symposium at the Experimental Biology 2014 conference.

Dr. Reidy, the lead author of an analysis examining top food sources contributing to energy (calories), saturated fat and sodium intake in the diets of toddlers (12-23 months) and preschoolers (24-47 months) found:

A few foods contribute almost 50 percent of daily calories – these include milk, cheese, bread and rolls, ready-to-eat cereals, poultry (chicken and turkey), butter, margarine or other fats.
Preschoolers are consuming nearly one-third, or about 400, of their total daily calories from solid fats and added sugars.
Top foods representing 70 percent of saturated fat intake include milk, cheese, butter, hot dogs/bacon, beef, poultry and cakes/cookies.
Top foods contributing almost 40 percent of young children’s sodium intake include milk, hot dogs and bacon, chicken/turkey, cheese, bread and rolls, crackers and ready-to-eat cereals. This intake equates to a child (24-47 months) consuming an average of 1,863 milligrams of sodium per day.
The new findings complement previously released research from FITS which showed 45 percent of toddlers and 78 percent of preschoolers consume more sodium than recommended.

Dr. Denise Deming analyzed dietary intake surveys for parents of 2,386 toddlers and preschoolers to lead an analysis on how snacking patterns among U.S. toddlers and preschoolers differ according to location. Dr. Deming found:

Many children consume milk, crackers and fresh fruits at snack time, but a variety of sweet snacks become the more popular choice when snacks are consumed away from home.
Snacks consumed away from home contributed about 50 more calories to the daily diet.
The FITS 2008 study evaluated the diets of 3,378 children from birth to four years of age. Study participants which included parents or primary caregivers of infants and young children completed twenty-four hour dietary recall surveys by telephone. For the study, parents or caregivers were allowed to define what foods children consumed as snacks and where these were consumed.

Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker Program Announces 2014 Graduates

With its 2014 graduating class, the Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker® program celebrates 20 years of providing the nation’s only advanced training course of its kind for veteran cheesemakers. This year’s class includes four new Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers and three veteran Masters who repeated the program to earn certification in additional cheese varieties.

The four new Wisconsin Master Cheesemakers are:

  • Mike Brennenstuhl, Great Lakes Cheese Seymour, Inc., Seymour, Wis., certified for Blue and Gorgonzola
  • Pat Doell, Agropur, Inc., Luxemburg, certified for Mozzarella and Provolone
  • Brian Renard, Renard’s Rosewood Dairy/Renard’s Cheese, Algoma, Wis., certified for Cheddar and Colby
  • Chris Renard, Renard’s Rosewood Dairy/Renard’s Cheese, Algoma, Wis., certified for Cheddar and Mozzarella

Returning graduates in the 2014 class are:

  • Mark Gustafson, Sartori Company, Plymouth, Wis., now certified for Fontina and Romano, as well as Parmesan and Asiago
  • Paul Reigle, Maple Leaf Cheese, Monroe, now certified for Cheddar in addition to Yogurt Cheese and Monterey Jack
  • Bruce Workman, Edelweiss Creamery, Monticello, now certified for Cheddar and Gouda in addition to Baby Swiss, Brick, Butterkäse, Emmental, Gruyère, Havarti, Muenster, Raclette and Specialty Swiss (low-sodium, low-fat lacy Swiss).

The graduates will be honored and presented with Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker medallions at a ceremony during the International Cheese Technology Exposition in Milwaukee on April 24.

“We congratulate the 2014 graduates and are proud to celebrate the 20th anniversary of this unique program. Those who have earned the title of Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker have such a dedication to their craft and pride in what they’ve achieved,” says James Robson, CEO of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB). “The impact of the program on them personally, as well as on their companies and the Wisconsin cheese industry has been immeasurable.”

Established in 1994 through a joint partnership of the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research, UW-Extension and WMMB, the Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker program is the most formalized, advanced training program in the nation. Patterned after European programs, it is administered by the Center for Dairy Research and funded by Wisconsin dairy producers, through WMMB. Applicants to the program must be active, licensed Wisconsin cheesemakers with at least 10 years of experience. Cheesemakers can earn certification in up to two cheese varieties each time they enroll in the three-year program and must have been making those varieties as a licensed cheesemaker for a minimum of five years prior to entering the program. Once certified, they’re entitled to use the distinctive Master’s Mark® on their product labels and in other marketing materials.

 

Graeter’s Ice Cream Releases New Product Lines

Family-owned Graeter’s Ice Cream is releasing its first completely new product lines in 144 years this spring.  Graeter’s Gelato and “A Little Less Indulgent” lines are made with the same high quality ingredients and attention to detail as Graeter’s original flavors, but offer a new spin on the traditional recipe.

The new product lines will be launched at select grocery stores, but available to all online at graeters.com.

Graeter’s Gelato

Graeter’s signature French Pot process that makes its ice cream so dense and creamy was actually based on Italian gelato machines, making its Gelato the most authentic Italian gelato available in the United States. Using this old-world freezing process, Graeter’s artisans create the hand-crafted gelato using specially made truffles from a family owned candy confectioner in Pennsylvania. Flavors include Caramel Truffle, Hazelnut Truffle, Vanilla with Milk Chocolate Truffles and Dark Chocolate Truffle.

A Little Less Indulgent

A Little Less Indulgent stands apart from other reduced sugar ice cream varieties thanks to the sweetness provided by a natural sugar substitute made from Monk fruit extract. The new line has 50 percent less sugar, roughly 25 percent less fat and 25 percent fewer calories than Graeter’s regular ice cream, making it a just little less indulgent while retaining all the flavor of Graeter’s traditional ice cream. Flavors include Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Bean, Chocolate Chip and Mint Chocolate Chip.

Hood Cottage Cheese Introduces New Garden-Inspired Flavors

Hood®, a leading dairy brand in New England, is welcoming spring in New England with the launch of two new flavor additions to the Hood Cottage Cheese family: Cucumber and Dill and Garden Vegetables. An excellent source of protein and a good source of calcium, Hood Cottage Cheese is a healthy and versatile food that can be enjoyed as a snack, a recipe ingredient, a topping or as a dip.
“We’re thrilled to add two delicious new cottage cheese flavors to the Hood family of products,” said Sarah Barow, Hood spokesperson. “Our new Cucumber Dill and Garden Vegetable flavors bring the fresh taste of spring to a healthy snack or meal.”
The new flavors, Cucumber and Dill and Garden Vegetables, are a good source of calcium, and contain 13 grams of protein per serving (26 percent of the recommended daily value).
“Cottage cheese is an excellent source of protein, which plays a key role in eating satisfaction and may help with weight control,” said Elizabeth M. Ward, M.S., R.D. and the Hood Answer Mom™. “What I really love about cottage cheese is how easy it is to incorporate into regular meal planning. Hood’s savory cottage cheese is delicious on its own, and is a great ingredient in many different dishes.”
Hood Cottage Cheese with Cucumber and Dill and Hood Cottage Cheese with Garden Vegetables are now available at major grocery stores across New England. To learn more about Hood Cottage Cheese, visit Hood.com or become a fan at Facebook.com/HPHood.

Castleton Crackers’ Governor’s Cheddar Named sofi Finalist

Castleton Crackers has been named a Finalist in the Outstanding Cracker category for its Governor’s Cheddar cracker in the Specialty Food Association’s 2014 sofi™ Award competition.

A sofi is the top honor in the $88 billion specialty food industry. “sofi” stands for Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation and represents the best of the best from members of the Specialty Food Association

The Governor’s Cheddar Crackers were one of 109 finalists selected by a national panel of specialty food professionals from 2,025 entries across 30 Award categories from Outstanding Appetizer to Outstanding Vinegar. Winners will be announced by noted chef Dominique Ansel at a red-carpet ceremony June 30, 2014, at the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City.

We are thrilled that the Governor’s Cheddar Crackers made it to the finals among such worthy competition,” says Whitney Lamy, Founder of Castleton Crackers. “This is a delicious combination of Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company’s award-winning Governor’s Cheddar cheese and my artisan cracker recipe,” says Lamy, who started working with VFCC in January of 2013. Whitney’s complete Castleton Cracker line is sold at grocery and specialty stores throughout the country and online at castletoncrackers.com.

“A sofi is the highest honor for products from our members, who bring craft, care and joy to the specialty food they create. The honor means the product is simply the best in its category,” says Specialty Food Association President Ann Daw.

The sofi Awards are open to members of the Specialty Food Association, a not-for-profit trade association established in 1952 for food artisans, importers and entrepreneurs with more than 3,000 members in the U.S. and abroad. For more information on the association and its Fancy Food Shows, go to specialtyfood.com. Learn more about the 2014 sofi Awards at specialtyfood.com/sofi.

Arthur Schuman Becomes Exclusive Importer and Distributor of Dodoni Greek Cheeses in the U.S.

Arthur Schuman Inc., an importer and distributor of domestic hard cheeses, has partnered with the Greek Company Dodoni SA, establishing the company as the exclusive importer and distributor of Dodoni SA Products in the U.S. Dodoni is widely recognized around the world for its P.D.O. (Protected Destination of Origin) feta cheese and other Greek dairy products. The partnership between the two dairy companies provides the U.S. market with widespread access to these premium authentic Greek products.

“As a company that prides itself on importing the best cheeses and working with the strongest and most sustainable companies, Dodoni SA is a natural fit for us,” explained Neal Schuman, President and Owner of Arthur Schuman, a fourth generation family business. “We believe Dodoni, and particularly its P.D.O. feta cheese, will thrive in the US market.”

Dodoni cheese and dairy products are currently available for order from Arthur Schuman and requests from customers across retail, foodservice and industrial markets may be placed starting immediately. The products will be available at major club stores with national reach, with additional outlets to follow.

Arthur Shuman and its distribution network will be targeting all channels of distribution, in particular those customers who demand and appreciate the best quality cheeses.

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