Finca Pascualete La Retorta was awarded Super Gold and named Best Cheese from Spain at the 2015 World Cheese Awards. This creamy raw sheep’s milk cheese is made in the traditional method of curdling milk with dried wild thistle flowers.
Finca Pascualete uses milk from its own flock and stays true to the time-honored recipe which requires daily turning by hand. The resulting aromatic cheese is praised for a smooth yet persistent flavor. The wild flowers lend a hint of bitterness to balance its remarkable richness.
Weighing in at 140 grams, La Retorta has understated packaging, wrapped in corrugated cardboard and tied with raffia string. The cheese should be brought to room temperature for service, when the top rind can be cut off as if it were a lid.
This popular La Retorta has gained notice not just for its flavor and quality, but also for its fascinating origins. Established in the 1940s by Luis Figueroa and Aline Griffith, Finca Pascualete is located on a famed Extremadura estate that has been in Figueroa family for nearly 800 years; the palacio itself was built in Roman times. The rich history of the estate took on a new life through Figueroa and Griffith. Having met when Griffith was working as a CIA agent, the couple settled into life in northern Spain, where they became known as the Count and Countess of Romanones.
“The cheese showcases the singularity of the land, the estate where the flock grazes and the city of Trujillo. It is a farming and agricultural project with a history dating back to 1232 which gained new dimension in 2010 with the inauguration of the cheese factory, achieving important international recognition,” said Cheesemaker Juan Figueroa, a grandson of the founders.
Finca Pascualete’s La Retorta was one of 2,727 entries from around the world to be judged at the World Cheese Awards, where 250 expert judges worked in teams of four to identify medal-winning cheeses. The super gold medal was reserved for each team’s favorite cheese. The 62 super gold cheeses were then ranked by a second panel of judges to award “best of” categories and to decide the world champion.
Finca Pascualete La Retorta is distributed in the United States by the Rogers Collection, which imports and distributes responsibly sourced ingredients of distinctive quality created by generational food producers from small farms rich in traditions and flavors.
For more information, call 207.828.2000, email email@example.com or visit therogerscollection.com.
Stonyfield is bringing out the latest offering in its Oh My Yog! lineup, limited edition New England Maple, just in time for National Maple Syrup Day on December 17. Made from organic whole milk and featuring maple syrup sourced from New Englanders who have a passion for making organic syrup, Oh My Yog! New England Maple is an everyday indulgence consumers can feel good about choosing.
Stonyfield’s Oh My Yog! line is known for its unique three-layer format – and with maple on the bottom, honey-infused yogurt in the middle and a decadent layer of cream on top – New England Maple is no exception.
“Oh My Yog! has been a big hit with consumers since we introduced the product earlier this year,” shared Lizzie Conover, Brand Manager for Stonyfield. “It’s the perfect blend of rich, satisfying flavors and wholesome organic whole milk. With the limited edition New England Maple flavor, we are thrilled to celebrate seasonal ingredients found right here in our own backyard in New England.”
Stonyfield’s Oh My Yog! New England Maple is organic, certified gluten-free, non-GMO and made without the use of toxic persistent pesticides, artificial hormones and antibiotics. Each 6 oz. container of Oh My Yog! New England Maple contains seven grams of protein per cup.
Easy to recognize in the yogurt aisle thanks to its colorfully striped packaging that was inspired by the three layers inside, Oh My Yog! New England Maple is available at select retailers nationwide from December 2015-March 2016 and retails for the suggested price of $1.59. For those looking for another creamy treat, Oh My Yog! also comes in five other decadent varieties: Madagascar Vanilla Bean, Wild Quebec Blueberry, Pacific Coast Strawberry, Gingered Pear, and Apple Cinnamon.
By Lorrie Baumann
This is a good time, and Nashville is a good place for a tiny cheese shop that operates as a cut-to-order counter inside a specialty butcher shop, says Kathleen Cotter, Owner of The Bloomy Rind.
The Bloomy Rind is tucked inside Porter Road Butcher, a whole-animal butcher shop that specializes in locally sourced pasture-raised meats. The pairing of a cheese shop and specialty butchers came about after a local farmer introduced Cotter, who was selling cheeses at local farmers markets, to business partners James Peisker and Chris Carter, who had been working together as caterers when they realized that what Nashville lacked was a good source of high-quality local meat. They were getting ready to open a butcher shop in East Nashville to meet that need, and when they met Cotter, it just seemed right that they might also team up with Cotter and her specialty cheeses. “I pitched the idea to sell cheese in their shop. At that point we didn’t know what the setup would look like,” Cotter says. “As their plans for the space crystalized, they worked a small cheese counter for The Bloomy Rind into their layout. So I was able to open up inside Porter Road instead of having to find the funds to build out my own shop.”
Cotter can’t focus on local cheeses the way Peisker and Carter focus on local meats because there just aren’t enough cheeses made locally to Nashville to meet her customers’ needs, but all three partners share a similar passion for sustainably produced foods. “Our philosophy and our passion were very much in alignment,” she says.
Part of their job is educating Nashville residents who are more accustomed to shopping for all their food needs at conventional grocery stores rather than stopping in at a variety of specialty shops, Cotter says. “It’s a change of habit to have to make an extra stop for specialty meats and cheese. But people are more and more willing to make that extra stop as the desire grows to know where their food comes from and how it was produced.”
“There’s also a population who comes in and says they grew up going to the butcher shop,” she adds. “They come back to that experience, which is cool…. We’re having a lot of people moving here from big cities, where they’re a little more used to specialty shops and come in looking for a personalized cheese experience.”
Her corner of the 1,500 square foot store houses a cheese case and a cutting table, and she shares a market area where she has some logs of chevre and a few other cheese accompaniments in a grab-and-go case. She carries 40 to 50 different cheeses in the case, all cut to order. At the moment, she has one particular favorite cheese in her case: a wheel of extra-aged St. Malachi from the Farm at Doe Run that she acquired when the farm sold extra wheels of a cheese they were entering in the American Cheese Society awards competition. “It’s sort of an aged cheddar meets aged Gouda, firm and crystally and brown-buttery,” Cotter says. “I find cheese is very much a mood thing. I don’t know if other people feel the same way. Sometimes you want a cheese that’s mild, fresh and creamy. Other times you want something with a more challenging profile and stronger flavors.”
In addition to her retail business, she operates a thriving wholesale business in which she works with about 20 restaurants in the city on a regular basis. “That helps me to move product through the case so inventory never sits fr too long and I can rotate the selection more frequently,” she says. “The combination of retail and wholesale also makes it possible to earn a living, which can be tough as an independent cheese retailer.” The wholesale business has become more integral to the shop than Cotter expected, which has been a pleasant surprise, she said. “It’s another avenue to market the cheese counter. If people order a Bloomy Rind cheese plate at a restaurant and enjoy it, then they come into the shop and want to try other things as well.”
As she’s grown her business at the shop, Cotter has also founded the Southern Artisan Cheese Festival, which started five years ago and which she has organized each year since then. “It’s been fun to watch that grow and to be a part of growing the awareness of Southern cheese,” she says. “I think Southern cheeses were under appreciated, but along with greater appreciation of Southern food in general, people are becoming more aware of it. We have people from different cities asking for Southern cheeses to be sent to them. It’s on the upswing. People are really excited about it.”
Nashville’s growing food culture makes this an exciting time to be selling specialty cheese there, Cotter says. “I happened to get into this at a good time when American cheeses are getting better and better and better. There are many great cheeses to introduce people to and chefs are more into interesting domestic cheeses,” she says. “Nashville has become the ‘It Girl’ of food and is attracting more chefs, although we already had good ones, as well as visitors who are interested in good food. It’s a fun time to be in Nashville and to be in cheese.”
The holiday season is a busy time for the Wisconsin dairy industry. According to data collected by Information Resources, Inc.’s (IRI) custom database for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB), cheese companies and retailers continuously see an increase in sales of Wisconsin cheese and dairy products each December. In the 2014 season, cheese sales jumped 21 percent in the week before Thanksgiving and 34 percent in the week before Christmas. Sales were also up 50 percent or more for many cheese varieties, including asiago, Alpine-style cheese, brick, brie, butterkase, camembert, cold pack, cream cheese, edam, fontina, mascarpone and ricotta.
“We expect this year to be no different with many cheese companies poised to capitalize on the holiday season with unique product offerings and increased sales and marketing efforts,” says James Robson, CEO of the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. Introductions of limited edition cheese varieties exclusively for the holiday season remain popular for 2015.
Most notably, the highly anticipated Rush Creek Reserve from Uplands Cheese Company in Dodgeville, Wisconsin, returns after a one-year hiatus. This exclusive cheese is hand crafted from seasonal raw cow’s milk and aged for 60 days. It retails for approximately $30 per round and is expected to sell out by Christmas.
Sales of flavored cheese varieties are also on the rise, and many Wisconsin cheesemakers have released cheeses perfect for holiday entertaining and gift giving. Consumers can find unique flavors like Peppermint BellaVitano from Sartori in Plymouth, Wisconsin; Marieke Truffle Gouda from Holland’s Family Cheese in Thorp, Wisconsin; Cranberry Chipotle Cheddar from Carr Valley Cheese Company in La Valle, Wisconsin; and Cinnamon Apple Pie Heritage Cheddar made by Henning’s in Kiel, Wisconsin.
For those looking for unique gift ideas, many retailers offer a variety of holiday gift baskets that can be easily ordered online or by phone. A list of cheese companies, creameries and specialty stores offering mail order cheese and gift baskets can be found at www.EatWisconsinCheese.com/MailOrder. WMMB also offers customizable holiday-themed Wisconsin cheese promotions to aid retailers in their marketing efforts during this busy time of year.
Grafton Village Cheese, a business of the nonprofit Windham Foundation in Grafton, Vermont, has teamed with specialty cheese leader Murray’s Cheese to manage its consumer e-commerce program. Online sales of Grafton Cheese on MurraysCheese.com commenced in late October.
Grafton Village Cheese makes handmade aged Vermont cheddar and specialty cheeses using premium raw milk from small local family farms. A selection of its award-winning cheeses are available at MurraysCheese.com.
“We are delighted to have partnered with Murray’s to take over our online consumer sales,” said Meri Spicer, Grafton’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Murray’s established and reputable e-commerce program allows our existing consumer base to enjoy a more streamlined experience.”
“We are proud to partner with Grafton Cheese,” says Steven Millard, Vice President of Merchandizing at Murray’s. “Long a mainstay in New England and New York cheese cases and on the counters at Murray’s Cheese, Grafton has played an important part in our country’s amazing cultural revolution in cheese. Grafton can focus on making great cheeses, and Murray’s Cheese can focus on providing a seamless online shopping experience.”
Murray’s Cheese, celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, has a successful e-commerce business that focuses on the specialty cheese market. The Murray’s brand includes two New York locations, state-of-the-art cheese caves, a restaurant, an educational program, a wholesale business and 250 cheese kiosks in Kroger supermarkets.
The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) has revealed its “Adventures in Real Food” Rose Parade® float design that will bring-to-life a celebration of Real California Milk with a colorful display of flowers, animation, music and young California dairy leaders. Keeping with the parade’s “Find Your Adventure” theme, the CMAB’s float recognizes that culinary adventures start with dairy – from the cheese that tops our favorite pizza pies to the ice cream that turns a banana into a celebration – all provided through the state’s more than 1,400 dairy farm families.
“The Rose Parade is a California icon that dates back more than 100 years, with a history as rich as California’s 200-year-old dairy tradition,” said John Talbot, CEO of California Milk Advisory Board. “What better way to showcase the milk and dairy products that make California the number one dairy state while aligning with our new ‘Return to Real’ ad campaign in support of Real California dairy foods and the dairy farmers who help bring them to the table.”
The “Adventures in Real Food” float will show how consumers can find adventure on their plate with an exciting meal or by being outdoors with the people and foods they love:
Float riders will represent some of the “Real People” essential to the dairy industry and who make California the Land of Milk & Sunny – including young dairy leaders from the Future Farmers of America (FFA), California Holstein Association, junior members of the California Jersey Cattle Association and California Dairy Princess ambassadors.
Viewers can watch the float make its debut in the parade on January 1, 2016, and see it up close at the Showcase of Floats onJanuary 1-3 in Pasadena, California.
Marin French Cheese Company, the longest continuously operating cheese company in the U.S., plans to retain that title for years to come. Wrapping up a year of celebrations marking its 150th year of artisan cheese production in the same Marin County location, the company is launching its innovative Baking Brie Kit and Supreme Extra Crème Brie nationally. Not to be outdone, Laura Chenel’s, Marin French’s sister company in Sonoma, founded 35 years ago, will unveil refreshed branding including packaging, a brand-new website, educational videos and new goat cheese products for national distribution in early 2016. Both companies claimed a host of top awards at national cheese competitions in 2015.
Innovations at Laura Chenel’s continue, underscoring the company’s well-known pioneering spirit and significant place in the ‘Story of American Chèvre.’ “2016 will bring exciting changes for our pioneering companies,” says Philippe Chevrollier, General Manger for Laura Chenel’s and Marin French Cheese. “We see a changing landscape for artisan cheese as the market expands, bringing new consumers and exciting opportunities for growth.” Industry experts estimate the annual growth of 4 percent in specialty cheese will continue through 2018, led by demand for nutritious snacks and protein-rich foods.
Marin French’s new Baking Brie Kit includes a uniquely designed wood cup, oven-safe and microwavable, and an 8-ounce wheel of award-winning Traditional Brie or Jalapeno Brie. Baking Brie Kits will be in national retail chains and specialty shops by early November. Baking Brie Kits and all-new Holiday Gift Baskets are ready to ship for the holidays from the online store.
Laura Chenel’s new product lineup of flavored fresh cheeses includes a coated Pineapple Log, Fig Log, and Garlic Chabis and an aged, bloomy-rind Goat Brie. The new Spicy Cabecou is marinated with Jalapeno and packed in an improved, anti-leak jar.
Together the companies picked up nineteen prestigious awards in 2015, recognizing their classic fresh, aged and soft-ripened cheeses along with top prizes for new cheeses competing for the first time in 2015. Most notably: Best of Class prize for Laura Chenel’s aged Taupinière from the US Cheese Championship in Wisconsin, 1st Place award for Marin French Traditional Brie from the American Cheese Society (ACS) in Providence RI and a coveted Winner Award for Marin French Petite Breakfast from the Good Food Awards, San Francisco. New cheeses Spicy Cabecou and Pineapple Log earned top awards for Laura Chenel’s while two new Marin French cheeses, Supreme and Petite Supreme, bested their competitors.
“These awards recognize milestone achievements confirming the high-quality cheese we strive to produce every day,” says GM Chevrollier. “We take pride in our collective years making great cheese, we respect traditions and the craft of cheesemaking while striving for innovation.” New products from Laura Chenel’s and Marin French will be launched at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco next January, where the sister companies’ products will be displayed side-by-side in booth #5117-5121.
Both Laura Chenel’s and Marin French Cheese are owned by French family cheesemaking company, Rians Group. The company is committed to local farming, long-term relationships for ethical and sustainable practices, and the craftsmanship of fine artisan cheeses reflecting distinctive regional terroir. For a full list of awards go to: www.MarinFrenchCheese.com/about/awards.
With restaurants continuing to seek out ways to offer their customers wholesome, natural ingredients, Emmi Roth USA has recently released a new melting cheese to meet the needs of foodservice professionals with flavor and functionality. Natural Melt™ Creamy Fontina helps operators clean up their menus with a multi-purpose melting cheese that is crafted to melt, naturally. Three simple ingredients – pasteurized cultured milk, enzymes and salt – create an approachable flavor and buttery, velvety texture that is suited for a grand scope of culinary applications.
Developed in collaboration with the company’s team of corporate chefs and master cheesemakers, the cheese is crafted specifically to melt in hot foodservice applications. Special cheesemaking techniques are employed, including reduction of the protein bondage, to create an ideal natural melting cheese. Emmi Roth’s newest creation was launched to help foodservice operators not only elevate a host of menu favorites with a deliciously distinctive note, but also meet consumer demands for natural products.
Natural ingredients and artisan cheese are among the top 20 food trends for 2015 according to the National Restaurant Association’s (NRA) Culinary Forecast. NRA’s forecast also shows that 75 percent consider natural ingredients and minimally processed food as a hot trend, 65 percent consider artisan cheeses as a hot trend and 25 percent consider it a perennial favorite.
“Our team developed Natural Melt Creamy Fontina in response to the trends we are seeing in foodservice,” said Linda Duwve, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Emmi Roth USA. “We take pride in delivering innovative products and meaningful cheese solutions to our customers and are committed to transparency in our cheesemaking practices and wholesome, natural food production.”
Available in 7.5-pound loaves, Natural Melt Creamy Fontina can be easily incorporated into any hot foodservice application that calls for melted cheese, including sauces, soups, dips, mac n’ cheeses, burgers, flatbreads, grilled sandwiches and pasta dishes. Evan Topel, Corporate Chef at Emmi Roth USA, has developed a collection of delicious recipes featuring the new cheese:
For more information about Roth Natural Melt Creamy Fontina, visit www.rothnaturalmelt.com.
Rogue Creamery is a 2016 Good Food Awards finalist for Flora Nelle and Rogue River Blue cheeses. The Good Food Awards represents truly good food and honors companies who have a reputation for making tasty, authentic and socially responsible products. The competition featured 1,937 entries and showcased regional flavors from across the USA. Rogue Creamery distinguished itself, receiving top scores from the 215 judges and passing a rigorous vetting to confirm that it met the Good Food Awards standards; these standards include environmentally sound agricultural practices, good animal husbandry, transparency, and responsible supply chain relationships.
Flora Nelle: This organic, natural- rinded, blue is set with calf rennet, has a crumbly, yet creamy texture, and combines savory, tropical, and sweet cream flavors. The result is a robust and piquant blue with subtle hints of blueberry and a rind that enhances the spicy-nutty and intensely blue flavors that truly capture the Rogue Valley Terroir.
Rogue River Blue: Made annually, starting on the autumnal equinox, this cheese is produced at the turn of the season and is made with richer, late-season milk. This blue, finished with pear-brandy soaked grape leaves, has a decidedly complex flavor that reflects the unique seasonal influences of the Rogue River Valley.
Rogue Creamery is joined by two other Oregon Cheese Guild cheesemakers: Ancient Heritage Dairy and Goldin Artisan Goat Cheese, who have also been chosen as Finalists and are helping Oregon lead the way toward creating a vibrant, delicious and sustainable food system.