Cutting the sheep’s milk curd for the Weston Wheel. (at Woodcock Cheese Co.)
The world’s largest cheese competition is coming to Madison in two weeks, and with it, a chance for the public to taste 50 of the world’s most rare cheeses — and to witness the final round of judging to determine the 2014 World Champion Cheese.
The 30th biennial World Championship Cheese Contest March 18 to 19 will draw 2,615 entrants, cheese arriving from not only across the United States and great European cheesemaking nations, but also from Australia, Canada, Croatia, Japan, Norway, Romania and South Africa.
On March 19, the contest, along with Wisconsin Cheese Originals, welcomes the public to Exhibition Hall at Monona Terrace for the Champion Cheese Charity Event — A Benefit for Second Harvest Foodbank.
The event hosts guarantee at least $10,000 from ticket proceeds will be donated to Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin. Attendance is capped at 600 persons.
Cheeses for the evening will be selected from entrants in the contest. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., with the championship round of judging to start at 7 p.m. That’s when 50 expert judges from 20 countries will determine and name the Best of Show. Sampling of the 50 stellar cheeses will run until 9 p.m. Complimentary appetizers will be served and a cash bar available.
Tickets are $35 and will be sold only in advanceatwww.cheesecontest.com.
For more information, visit:www.worldchampioncheese.org/attend
(Photo ©2014 Journal Sentinel)
NPR’s The Salt reports on the efforts by the EU to protect it’s name-controlled cheeses from American name-alikes. While I sympathize with the headache this would cause for many domestic producers, I can’t say I disagree with the core concept. There are a lot of cheeses out there with AOC names, which bear little resemblance to the cheeses for which they’re named; “Brie”, for example, is commonly used as a label for cheeses which are essentially just “white on the outside, yellow on the inside”, but are not even produced according to the specifications of true Brie. Perhaps it’s better if American cheesemakers give their cheeses unique names, or honor the style on which they’re based (eg “Brie-style”), without actually calling themselves by the originally AOC designation. From The Salt:
As part of negotiations over the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the European Union wants the U.S. to prohibit food makers here from using names with historical ties to Europe.
That means popular cheeses like Gruyere, Brie and Parmesan could all be in line for a name change, thanks to the EU’s proposed restrictions. The problem, says Steve Stettler, who owns Decatur Dairy in Brodhead, Wis., is that U.S. food makers have spent a lot of money building their brands.
"How do we educate our consumers? People have spent a great deal of money on labeling, building traditions, building a name on a product," Stettler says. "And then not being able to use that name would be kind of horrific."
Read the full story.
Frigid mornings find the sheep clumped together in one corner of the hoop house, for warmth. Fortunately I’m spending most of my time in the cheese house, where it’s almost always warm and steamy!
The wheels of Cloud 9’s in the moulds, which we’ll be turning out and salting in a few hours. This is the pasteurized cow’s milk version of Woodcock’s seasonal Summer Snow, which is made when the sheep are milking. During the winter, cow’s milk comes from Jersey Girl Dairy in Chester, VT.
Blue cheeses in the moulds. (at Woodcock Cheese Co.) Today’s make was the Kind Of Blue, a Gorgonzola dolce style cows’ milk Blue.
New York Magazine’s Feb 24 issue includes a feature titled “50 Cheeses: From Adelegger to Zimbro, the current cheesescape defined”, which makes a handy reference for anyone looking to expand their cheese repertoire. The list includes many cheese previously featured here, including Dunbarton Blue, Ameribella, Cabricharme, Jersey Blue, Challerhocker, Anton’s Liebe Rot, Sternschnuppe, Melville, Lorenzo, Chiriboga Blue, Pleasant Ridge Reserve Extra Aged, and many more. To top it all off (literally, in that first photo), Miranda from Vulto Creamery makes the list and features prominently.
Not online yet, unfortunately, but it will probably be available at nymag.com in a few days or so. And I would definitely recommend picking up a copy at a newsstand if you can.
(Photos ©2014 New York Magazine)
I recently posted about the new Crown Finish caves in Crown Heights, Brooklyn (pictured above), and now there’s a great opportunity to learn more about it and enjoy some great food, cheese and conversation with Peter Dixon of Parish Hill Creamery and Jos Vulto of Vulto Creamery (maker of the oft-posted about absinthe-washed cheese, Miranda), hosted by The Pines:
MEET THE PRODUCERS DINNER SERIES
SUNDAY MARCH 9th 7:00pm
Our friends at Crown Finish Caves have successfully restored 1850’s underground lagering tunnels in Crown Heights to create the perfect environment to age artisanal cheeses right here in Brooklyn.
Cheesemaker Peter Dixon, of Parish Hill Creamery, joins us to celebrate his upcoming partnership with Crown Finish Caves. Jos Vulto of Vulto Creamery will also speak about his amazing new cheese “Miranda”.
$45, Four-course prix fixe to include:
Dry-aged lamb tartare with juniper and “West West Blue” cheese. Roasted maitake mushrooms, green garlic “Humble Herdsman” and late harvest vinegar.
Join us for the first in a series of unique opportunities to meet producers and indulge in Chef John’s unique approach to utilizing the best local and artisanal ingredients.
email@example.com or 718-596-6560 for reservations
Exciting development in the Cheese Notes world: I’ve just started a cheesemaker visit/apprenticeship at Woodcock Farm, in Weston, VT, that will be going for the next few weeks. I hope to post about my experiences of course, but between making cheese, washing and flipping wheels or learning about sheep dairying, I may not have a ton of time for blogging! In any case, stay tuned for more news from Woodcock Farm in snowy (and at the moment quite chilly) Weston. Pictured above are some of the cheeses in the cave (the larger wheels are the True Blue), as well as some other scenes from around the farm.
You can also check out my previous post from Woodcock Farm.
This dramatic black and white cheese (the photo is not grayscale) is the Nerina, from Caseificio dell’Alta Langa, Piedmontese masters of the Robiola family of cheeses. I’ve been on a bit of a Robiola kick lately for some reason, as you may have noticed from the multiple recent Alta Langa postings, most recently the diminutive Langherino.
Nerina means “little black cheese”, which is fitting; before you cut into it, the wrinkled outer rind looks like it came fresh out of a chimney. Alta Langa recently purchased a neighboring creamery, Agrilanga, who is the maker of the Nerina. Agrilanga is a goat diary, one of the unusual aspects of this cheese, as pure goat’s milk Robiolas are uncommon. Generally, when goat’s milk is used, it is in mixed-milk Robiolas, blended with cow, sheep, or sometimes all three.
The Nerina is a young cheese, aged only ten days or so before going to market. This cheese is notably moist, leaving a damp black circle on any surface that it rests on. The outer rind has the trademark geotrichum wrinkles, coated in vegetable ash, with a dusting of delicate white mold spores springing up between the ridges. The inner paste is moist, almost cakey and fluffy, not velvety like a Cravanzina or Bosina but with a unique interior for a goat cheese. Aromas are mildly pungent and musty; flavors are mineral, mushroomy, and bright, with vegetal and earthy notes.
Purchased at Formaggio Essex.