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Emmi Roth Announces Grand Cru Recipe Contest Winners

Emmi Roth USA, an award-winning producer of specialty cheeses, has announced the winner of its Grand Cru® Recipe Contest for Postsecondary Culinary Students. Caroline Ausman of Burlington, Wis., took top honors with her recipe for Manicotti en Croûte with Brandied Fig Sauce.

The contest, presented in conjunction with the Center for the Advancement of Foodservice Education (CAFÉ), challenged postsecondary culinary students to create a flavorful and creative pasta recipe highlighting Roth Grand Cru, a washed rind Alpine-style cheese crafted in Wisconsin.

Ausman is currently enrolled as a student at the Art Institute of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and is pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Baking and Pastry. She attributes her culinary and pastry passion to working alongside her mother in the family kitchen while growing up.

“I truly feel at home in the kitchen, working with my hands and creating from scratch. This contest was an amazing opportunity for me to showcase what I love doing,” said Ausman. “Although developing the recipe was a tremendous, and sometimes challenging, process, I really learned a lot!”

The panel of Emmi Roth USA contest judges were impressed with the flavor and versatility of the recipe, remarking that the application “takes pasta in a whole new direction” and could be served as an appetizer or a savory dessert.

“We received so many fantastic recipes and were inspired by the passion and creativity shown by all of the entrants. Ms. Ausman’s recipe impressed us for its flavor, sophistication and elegance,” said Regi Hise, Director of Culinary Development at Emmi Roth USA. “We’re always looking for innovative ways to feature our cheeses in culinary applications, and manicotti wrapped in phyllo is a creative and delicious concept. The sweet flavors of the brandied fig sauce balance wonderfully with the savory Grand Cru manicotti filling, and the phyllo adds great texture – the recipe was a clear winner.”

Ausman’s first place finish, out of more than 35 entries from across the country, earned her $2,000 and registration and lodging accommodations at the upcoming National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show, May 17-20, in Chicago. Ausman’s winning recipe will be served at the Emmi Roth USA Cheese 4 Chefs table during the NRA Show.

The winning recipe and photo are available on the Emmi Roth Foodservice website. For additional information about Ausman’s culinary pursuits, visit her blog.

Mr. Cheese O’s Snacks Set to Roll Out this Summer

Orange tongues and fingers, grease stains, high fructose corn syrup, saturated fat, high calorie counts are the telltale signs of cheese-flavored chips, crisps and crackers.
Until now. Mr. Cheese O’s an all-natural, crunchy, delicious, and fun O-shaped cheese snack has announced its launch at Natural Foods Expo West. Mr. Cheese O’s comes from Sonoma Creamery, an artisan cheese company based in California’s wine country, that makes hormone free, 100-percent natural, gluten-free cheeses. The new healthier, wheat-free, corn-free snack comes in four indulgent varieties, — Original, Cheddar, Tuscan Herb and Sweet Chili — with 10-grams of protein per 1-ounce bag, using organic quinoa and other ancient grains.
Mr. Cheese O’s is a snack every kid will crave and every parent will feel good about serving – not to mention adults craving it themselves! Mr. Cheese O’s will be available in the deli section of national grocery and convenience store chains starting this June.
Mr. CheeseOsSONY DSCMr. Cheese O’s handcrafted all-natural cheese and O-shaped bites that contain no artificial ingredients or artificial hormones. They’re gluten-free, preservative-free, corn-free and wheat-free. Made from organic quinoa and other ancient grains, they contain just 75 calories per serving and 150 calories for the 1-ounce pack. There are 10 grams of protein and 25 percent of the daily value of calcium in each pack, with no trans fat, 0 grams of sugar and 6 grams of carbohydrates. The list of ingredients is short, clear and pronounceable.
“As parents, how can we trust snack products that use ingredients with names we can’t even pronounce?” said Sonoma Creamery’s CEO, John Crean. “In a space that’s dominated by not-so-good-for-you products, and being a dad myself, I’m proud that our new Mr. Cheese O’s product is an extra tasty, crunchy real cheese snack with a clean label and all natural ingredients that parents can feel good about giving their kids – and maybe saving a few for themselves, as well.”
Mr. Cheese O’s is set to roll out nationwide in all four varieties early this summer. One-ounce packs of Mr. Cheese O’s will retail for $2.99. Learn more at http://mrcheeseos.com and like Mr. Cheese O’s on Facebook at http://facebook.com/mrcheesesos.

California Artisan Cheese Festival Announces Finale Events

The United States’ premier public artisan cheese event, the 8th Annual California’s Artisan Cheese Festival, today announces the participants in the Festival’s finale events: the Bubbles & Brunch and Artisan Cheese Tasting & Marketplace on Sunday, March 23. Executive Chef Percy Whatley of The Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite will demonstrate how to cook cheese-centric dishes at this three-course brunch event featuring bubbles by Gloria Ferrer. The brunch and cooking demonstration by Chef Whatley will take place on Sunday morning before the main event of the day, the Artisan Cheese Tasting & Marketplace.

Recently a semi-finalist for the Bocuse d’Or USA who was chosen to prepare dinner at the Beard House as part of a James Beard Foundation Event, Chef Whatley will be preparing California’s Artisan Cheese Festival’s Sunday Brunch at 9:30 a.m. at the Sheraton Sonoma County-Petaluma. Not only will guests be treated to a glass of Gloria Ferrer sparkling wine upon entry, but this sit-down, three-course brunch will also feature cheese-centric cooking demos by Chef Whatley and all attendees will gain VIP access into the Artisan Cheese Tasting & Marketplace at 11 a.m., an hour before it opens to the public.

Bringing together more than 70 of California’s best artisan cheesemakers, restaurants, breweries and wineries, this walk-around tasting and marketplace is one of the weekend’s most popular events. With two tents set up outside of the Sheraton Sonoma County, there will be more than 20,000 square feet of space for guests to comfortably navigate their way around this popular marketplace. During the event, guests will be able to not only taste and purchase the offerings of each participant, but also interact with the vendors, artisans, cheesemakers, brewers and winemakers. Throughout the day there will be chefs’ demos representing some of the Bay Area’s best chefs, including Brandon Guenther of Rocker Oysterfellers at 1:45 p.m. and Liza Hinman of Spinster Sisters at 3 p.m. Several of the weekends’ cheesemakers and chefs are also authors and many will be selling and signing their cheese-inspired tomes at the Marketplace. The chefs’ demos will be taking place inside of the Sheraton Sonoma County and the book signings will be taking place inside of the tent throughout the day. Book signings and demos are included with admission to the Marketplace.

Tickets to several of the Festival’s other weekend-long events are also still available, including Friday night’s Meet the Cheesemakers Reception, several of the Saturday seminars and the Saturday night Best in Cheese Competition. Tickets for all events may be purchased at www.artisancheesefestival.com.

Norseland Re-launches Website to Promote Joy of Jarlsberg

Norseland, Incorporated, the U.S. subsidiary of TINE SA, Norway’s largest dairy cooperative, is relaunching its USA website to reflect TINE’s global messaging for 2014.  The website’s theme, Yours to Share, centers on the Jarlsberg experience, encouraging interaction with consumers by connecting the joy of eating Jarlsberg to lifestyle occasions.  The Jarlsberg USA website and all social media platforms will work in tandem, creating a premium digital relationship with fans and followers.

“For over five decades, Jarlsberg has played a key role in developing the specialty cheese category and experience, becoming a favorite brand in the United States,” says Valerie Liu, Norseland’s Marketing and Advertising Specialist.  “In the digital space, we communicate premium by shifting the focus on lifestyle: celebrating the act of giving, the joy of sharing and the benefit of knowing your favorite cheese brand – Jarlsberg.”

The new website features contemporary, easy to assemble and prepare recipes plus the current national Jarlsberg Lite promotion in stores now – submit your “nutty-est” Jarlsberg Lite promotion on Facebook for a chance to win a Spinning Bike Package.  The site also includes an entertaining film clip, The Magician.  Part of a “Sandwich Shorts” video series of people making sandwiches in fun, creative ways, the first video features Sweden’s champion illusionist, David Persson, conjuring up a Heavenly Jarlsberg Ciabatta.  To view the video, visit www.jarlsbergusa.com.

Chobani to Donate Fresh Greek Yogurt Intended for Team USA to New York and New Jersey Food Banks and Charitable Organizations

Chobani announced today it will donate more than 5,000 cups of fresh Greek yogurt originally intended for Team USA athletes competing in Sochi, Russia, to food banks in New York and New Jersey.

“As a proud supporter of Team USA over the past four years, we’re disappointed our athletes won’t be able to enjoy Chobani while they compete in the games as we all hoped, and are deeply appreciative to everyone who tried to help get it there, especially Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand and various officials here at home,” said Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Chobani. “It’s been a long, cold winter and we’re happy incredible organizations in New York and New Jersey, who share our vision to provide nutritious foods, will be able to serve fresh cups of Chobani to those in need. We’ll be waiting for our athletes when they come home while cheering them on every step of the way,” he added.

As the official yogurt of the 2014 U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Teams, chefs and nutritionists serve Chobani to athletes at the U.S. Olympic Training Centers. To naturally power Team USA and provide food they enjoy from home, Chobani intended to deliver 5,000 fresh single-serve cups of blueberry, strawberry and peach Chobani, and multi-serve containers of plain Chobani yogurt for smoothies, to Team USA athletes in Sochi.

For years, Chobani has frequently donated products to organizations in New York and Idaho and through its foundation is actively focused on making good food more accessible to all, especially youth and underserved communities. Since Chobani’s earliest days, it has made a pledge to give 10 percent of its profits to charity and supports grassroots organizations all over the world. Chobani will deliver the 5,000-plus units of fresh Greek yogurt intended for Team USA to food banks in New Jersey and New York City.

Murray’s Cheese Director of Program Development Wins Comté Scholarship

The Comté Cheese Association is delighted to announce the winner of the second Comté Scholarship for American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professionals™ . Amanda Parker, Director of Program Development for Murray’s Cheese, took home the first place prize in the blind essay contest. She has won an all-expenses-paid trip to the Comté region to learn first-hand about the region and production. There was a tie for runner-up between Jason Herbert, Assistant Specialty Team Leader of Whole Foods, and Leah McFadden, Associate Perishables Buyer for the northern California region of Whole Foods. They will each receive a special Comté care package.

The essays were judged anonymously on the basis of knowledge and creativity by a panel of three renowned cheese experts: Greg O’Neill (Board President of the American Cheese Society; Owner of Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine); Cathy Strange (Global Cheese Buyer, Whole Foods Market, Inc.); and Max McCalman (Maître Fromager of Artisanal Premium Cheese Center, Author and Cheese Writer). The judges did not have access to the applicants’ names or information.

Amanda Parker states of winning the scholarship, “I am delighted for this incredible opportunity and the chance to see in person such an important cheesemaking region!” Her winning essay can be viewed here.

The Certified Cheese Professional™ (CCP) Exam was established by the American Cheese Society in 2012 to encourage high standards of comprehensive cheese knowledge and service for professionals in all areas of the cheese world. The exam is based on the knowledge and skills required to successfully perform cheese-related tasks in jobs across the board.

Made exclusively in the Jura Mountain region of France, Comté is an artisanal cheese with AOC (Controlled Appellation of Origin) and PDO (European Protected Denomination of Origin) designations. Each wheel of Comté reflects a unique terroir, a season of production, and centuries of cheesemaking and affinage traditions.

The Comté Cheese Association represents all those who are involved in the production of Comté—dairy farmers, cheese-makers, affineurs—and carries out activities in all fields of interest to the trade, including research and technical issues, economics, information and communications, marketing, law and promotion of the Comté appellation, defense of local traditions and protection of the environment.

Cheesemonger Offers “Perfect Bite” at San Francisco Cheesemonger Invitational

The “Perfect Bite” at the first West Coast Cheesemonger Invitational (CMI) at Public Works in San Francisco on January 19 was an unlikely, but delicious combination of flavors and texture that just worked.

Perpetual Goatstopper close upThe Perpetual Goatstopper” was the creation of Cheesemonger Perry Soulos of Arrowine and Cheese in Arlington, Va., who paired award-winning chèvre from Redwood Hill Farm with grapes, candied ginger and Burstin’ Berry Poppin’ Pebbles™ breakfast cereal to create his unique, eye-catchingly delicious perfect bite. Soulos was awarded $1,000, immeasurable glory and an all expenses paid trip to the Vermont Cheesemakers Festival this summer along with top two finalists Zach Berg of Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco and Nate McElroy of Bedford Cheese Shop in New York.

Perry Soulos CMI headshot“I really wanted to do something different and fun with my perfect bite,” said Soulos. “When we first received the list of cheeses to choose from, I went right for Redwood Hill Farms’ Traditional Plain Chèvre. I knew the product very well from my years behind the cheese counter and thought it would be the perfect choice for a California-inspired cheese bite. Its decadent and rich flavor and clean lemony tang make it very versatile in the kitchen.”  

Redwood Hill Farm Owner Jennifer Bice, said: “We were thrilled to be one of the hometown hosts of the first West Coast Cheesemonger Invitational. It was wonderful to see how Perry used our fresh chèvre in such a surprisingly delicious way.”

Redwood Hill Farm’s cheeses were featured throughout the competition. Competing mongers enjoyed a vertical tasting of Camellia, Redwood Hill Farm’s Camembert–style cheese at various ages, from three days to eight weeks. It was also served as a delicious dessert course sandwich topped with berry preserves created by Michael Davidson, aka The Grilled Cheez Guy of Oakland, Calif. Cheesemonger Max Frederick from The Cellar Cheese Shop in Costa Mesa, featured Redwood Hill’s Raw Milk Feta in his Greek-inspired spoon sweet. 

More than 30 of the best cheesemongers – the folks who sling cheese for a living – competed in an intense day-long series of cheese challenges. Participants from San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Boulder, San Diego, Florida and even Toronto, Canada were put through a series of tests. From blind cheese tastings and a grueling written exam to sales-under-pressure and the perfect cheese cutting, the day-long event challenged the mongers’ skills, knowledge and creativity, as evidenced in their Perfect Bite. Following the private daytime competition was an evening party attended by 800 members of the cheese-loving public. 

Attendees were treated to “perfect bite” pairings created by each competing cheesemonger along with award-winning cheeses from CMI hosts: Bay Area cheese pioneers Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery and Cowgirl Creamery, international importer Columbia Cheese and East Coast luminary Vermont Creamery; four custom grilled cheese sandwiches created just for CMI by The Grilled Cheez Guy; plus fondue, raclette and thousands of pounds of cheese. As esteemed panel of judges, including San Francisco Chronicle Cheese Columnist Janet Fletcher, Cheese Connoisseur Magazine Publisher/Editorial Director Lee Smith and American Cheese Society Board Member and DiBruno Bros. Owner Emilio Mignucci, rated competing mongers based on portioning, presentation, taste, aesthetics, creativity and whether or not the pairing created the elusive third flavor of the blended components.

According to Liz Thorpe, CMI Event Producer and Author of The Cheese Chronicles: A Journey Through the Making and Selling of Cheese in America, From Field to Farm to Table, “San Francisco really caught the ‘cheese for life’ spirit of what the Cheesemonger Invitational is all about: celebrating the passion and challenging the skills of this dedicated tribe of cheese lovers. We’re excited to bring CMI back to the city next year for more mongering competitions, world-class cheese tastings, late night dancing and more.”

Adds Soulos: “It’s thrilling to be named the CMI 2014 champion of cheese after competing in the 2012 and 2011 events in New York City and feeling both times that I could have done better. This time I brought my A-game, spending countless nights reading and studying the craft as mental preparation, and several days designing my perfect bite. The hard work paid off.”