curdnerd's blog

Probiotic Cheese Introduced in Italy

In one of the hottest trends in dairy right now, companies in Europe and the U.S. are moving to create innovative products that contain added probiotic cultures, microorganisms thought to confer health benefits when ingested in adequate amounts. In January 2006, Dannon introduced Activia, a yogurt supplemented with live Bifidus Regularis bacteria, to the American market. And with each passing month it seems more and more companies are hopping on the probiotic bandwagon; Italian cheesemaker Bidino recently announced a new line of cheeses containing probiotic cultures.

Explore New York's Cheese Trail

On September 15 and 16, members of the Upper Hudson Farmstead & Artisanal Cheesemakers are opening their operations to the public, giving people a chance to meet the cheesemakers and watch them as they craft some of the best farmstead cheeses in America. Visitors will also be able to meet the beautiful sheep, goats and cows that make all the precious raw milk for the cheeses.

New Kosher Cheese Offerings

The Kosher Blog tells us about two new kosher-certified cheeses on the market, an exciting development in a category that has long been woefully slim. The first offering is an Organic cheddar from New Zealand-based Mainland Cheese. It's made with milk from grass-fed cows and features the OK kosher certification. The other is a group of raw milk cheeses from 5 Spoke Creamery, including Red Vine Colby, Redmond Cheddar, and Herbal Jack. The cheeses are made in Pennsylvania by Amish farmer Henry Lapp and certified kosher by Kof-K.

American Home Food Products Purchases Artisanal Cheese

First the Murray's/Kroger deal, and now this: American Home Food Products, a publicly-traded company with a market cap of today of $2 million, has acquired Artisanal Cheese, LLC in a deal meant to help make Artisanal "the leading national brand for best-in-class cheeses." Clearly there is a trend afoot here, with the greater food industry waking up to the fact that the artisanal cheese market is growing at leaps and bounds, and is comparable to other recent growth trends in areas like micro-beers and small coffee roasters. And with the specialty cheese market at an estimated $6 billion (according to the SEC filing for this deal), it makes sense that some large companies are standing up and taking notice. It will be interesting to continue to watch this trend play out, especially what effect it might have on the quality and availability of both domestic and imported cheeses.

Via Pacific Northwest Cheese Project.

Third Annual Tillamook Mac & Cheese Contest

Oregon's Tillamook Cheese, who have been making cheese and other dairy products as a farmer's collective since 1909, have announced a call for submissions for their third annual Mac & Cheese Recipe Contest. The $5000 grand prize will go to the winner whose recipe has the best taste, the most unique use of ingredients, and the most overall creativity. Visit the contest's website for more information on how to enter.

Interview of me on the Jew and the Carrot

Head on over to The Jew and the Carrot where they've posted an interview with me discussing my home cheesemaking endeavors. The Jew and the Carrot is a blog dedicated to "the intersection between Jews, food and contemporary life," and is a project of the environmental Jewish organization Hazon.

P.S. I am Jewish, but I'm not too into carrots. At least when they're raw.

Kroger & Murray's Strike Cheese Deal

This just in: The Kroger Co., one of the largest supermarket retailers in the U.S., has struck a deal with New York City's Murray's Cheese to help expand Kroger's selection of specialty cheeses. According to the press release, beginning in 2008, Kroger will offer Murray's cheeses in select stores. Kroger's sales in 2006 were in excess of $60 billion, making this announcement hugely important in the world of specialty cheese. If successful, it will signal a giant step in the mainstreaming of fine cheese in this country, and will also encourage other large grocery retailers to follow suit. It is certainly a story to watch as it develops, so stay tuned to for more details!

Raw Milk in the NY Times

Photo by mattbrowne via Flickr

The endless debate over raw milk continues today with a balanced article in the Dining Section of the NY Times. For obvious reasons, I kind of wish they'd cover the debate as it affects cheeses, especially since raw milk cheeses are generally even safer than raw milk itself.

This Week in Cheese Classes

If we've missed anything or if you would like to let us know about any upcoming events, please use the contact form above.

July 29, 2007

German & Austrian Wines and Cheeses
Formaggio Kitchen/
We in the food business all have our obsessions, whether they be cheese, or soil or Dolcetto grapes, but our dear Derek has a borderline-unhealthy obsession with white wines from Germany and Austria. While other delicious grapes of note reside in these countries, he is most especially particular about Riesling and Gruner Veltliner. Derek and Julie spent their honeymoon travelling through these countries, sipping wine at every turn, and want to share what they learned on their trip.

Skyline Chili

Have you ever gazed upon a small mountain of shredded cheddar cheese, quaking with excitement at the gustatory challenge it presents and trembling with fear that your victory may ultimately be a Pyrrhic one? No? Well I have, and it has changed me forever, and for the better.

My wife, daughter and I are in Cincinnati, OH for a couple weeks, and of course no trip here would be complete without at least one meal at Skyline Chili. For those of you ignorant of Midwestern fast food, Skyline Chili is a Cincinnati phenomenon, famous for their 3, 4 and 5-way chilis and chili-topped coneys (hot dogs). Everything comes topped with a heaping mound of cheddar.

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