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2010 wrap up: 1. The continued emergence of American-made cheese

There are five more days in 2010 and I will be giving you five end-of-the-year posts. Starting today I will be posting the five trends I’m seeing in the cheese world right now. Just my opinion and all that, but I feel pretty strongly that these are the big issues right now. The continued emergence of US-made cheese When I started as a cheese buyer more than 16 years ago, the idea that US-made cheese would ever challenge the European classics was laughable. Sure, some fanatics would always buy local, but it would be a sacrifice of taste for politics. That’s simply not true anymore. For example – and I say this knowing that it is practically cheese-sacrilege — the best regularly-available-in-the-Bay-Area ripened goat milk cheese is Bonne Bouche from Vermont. Most long-time cheese shoppers still resist this idea – looking for the (pasteurized French export versions of) Valencay, Selles sur Cher, Chevre D’or, Lingot – but side by side, Bonne Bouche does not only equal those export versions, it surpasses them for complex, tangy goat taste. I know most of you reading won’t believe me. Try it for yourself and get back to me But that’s not the only place where US cheeses are encroaching on the considered-unassailable Euro- cheeses. Pleasant Ridge Reserve, Ascutney Mountain and Spring Brook Tarentaise are up there with Comte and Gruyere, Mountina and Edelweiss up there with Emmenthal, Marieke Gouda with the best Dutch aged Goudas, Winnimere with Forsterkase, and –though this is premature to say – Rush Creek Reserve may even someday challenge the Vacherin Mont D’or. Even though many of these cheeses were being made five or ten years ago, they are only now getting to the point – in terms of consistency and depth of flavor –where this is true. Cheesemaking is not for the short-term planner. Additionally, a number of American originals are becoming staples in their own right. Cowgirl Creamery Red Hawk, the seasonal Rogue River Blue, the Dunbarton Blue (like a Montgomery Cheddar with a cracked moldy rind!) and the Vella Golden Bear Dry Jack are unmatched. Sure, as yet there is no American challenge to Parmigiano Reggiano, Brie de Meaux, or the best Gorgonzola Dolcelatte, but at this point challenging those cheeses just seems doubtful instead of impossible. (I am re-emerging from my holiday cheese hole. Hi Everyone!) Read the original post on Gordonzola’s blog.
cheesemonger Gordon Edgar is the author of Cheesemonger: A Life on the Wedge.

Great Cheeses from ACS 2012: Part 1

I am only mentioning cheeses that are new to me here because – as anyone there can attest – there were too many awesome cheeses for one person to blog about. My versions of these from past years are still pretty much valid, so check those out as well if you want. Here is a […] Read More..

American Cheese Society 2012: Judging

Whenever I get a chance to be a cheese judge at the American Cheese Society Conference, I grab it. I really do love it. I am honored to be asked – and that is part of it – but I love it mostly because it is pure cheese: just me, my mouth, and 1771 anonymous […] Read More..

Gordonzola’s Humble Suggestions for Getting the Most out of the Cheese Conference

I’ve lost track of how many ACS conferences I have attended. I pretty sure I have attended every one not on the East Coast since 1999. Almost universally, they have been awesome experiences that have taught me innumerable things about cheese and introduced me to people I otherwise might never have met. Back when I […] Read More..

New facebook page

I started a new facebook page because during vacation it dawned on me that I really wish I hadn’t given the “Cheesemonger” facebook page the name of my book. For one reason, it’ll be confusing when my next book comes out. For another, it’s embarrassing commenting on other people’s facebooks as “Cheesemonger: A Life on […] Read More..

When Cheese Goes Bad

There are times of the year I associate with bad cheese. Usually it is after a holiday, when a distributor has bought too much of something perishable that didn’t sell. Buyers are alerted to these deals with flyers titled things like “Hot Sheet”, “Killer Deals”, and “Margin Builders.” This is definitely risky buying for the […] Read More..