The Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin (DFW), formerly the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board, in Madison, has officially set a new Guiness Book of World Records title by creating the world’s largest cheese board. This is not surprising, as Wisconsin produces 48 percent of the specialty cheeses in the U.S.
Gruyère is complicated… in a good way. Not only does it have a complex mix of many flavors and capabilities, its production is a carefully curated process mired in centuries of tradition. This cheese is so cherished and beloved that it prompted an international skirmish for naming and geographic designation. Despite all this history, Gruyère is a multifaceted jewel in the cheese world that is easy to use and enjoy.
The planet is blessed with over 7,000 varieties of apples. From the ancient fruit-bearing trees of Britain and France to the northern most regions of Scandinavia to the far regions of Australia to the frostier parts of North America, apples cover the earth. It’s easy to see after biting into a sweet and juicy Pink Lady or a full of flavor Fuji, how every apple must be a good cider-making contender. Not so. Surprisingly, what tastes good might not be a good candidate for producing a delicious hard apple cider.
Coordinating the shipment of containers full of cheese from France, introducing new cheeses from Australia to the U.S. market, and forecasting future cheese trends—it’s all in a day’s work for Stephanie Ciano. As the vice president of international purchasing for Armonk, NY-based World’s Best Cheese, one of the United States’ leading cheese distributors, Ciano is responsible for bringing quality and cutting-edge cheeses into the United States. It’s quite possible that you can thank her for the selection at your local cheese shop.
Named after the caves in which it is aged, St. Pete’s Select from Caves of Faribault in Faribault, MN, has quite a history behind it.
It was 1936 when a series of 13 sandstone caves in Minnesota were commandeered by Felix Frederiksen for Blue cheese aging. The conditions were ideal. Because the caves’ stone was 99 percent quartzite and there were no stalactite or stalagmite formations, water moved vertically as opposed to horizontally, contrary to most caves. The environment also was perfect, with 99 percent humidity and a temperature of 52 degrees F all year.
Laura Chenel’s was founded by its namesake in 1979, though starting a cheese company was not her initial goal. As a young woman, Chenel was someone who traveled a great deal and was an early adaptor of the belief that one should provide their own food. She grew and made what she could, and acquired some goats, too, in the process.
Margaret Cicogna is one of the United States’ leading authorities on Italian cheese. “People call me the Cheese Lady,” she told Cheese Connoisseur over coffee in New York City. “But I do a lot more than cheese. I went to school. I have a family.” Still, Cicogna’s deep knowledge and passion for cheese, and close relationships with the producers she’s worked with over many decades, have more than earned her the title.
Some would say that biting into a sweet, sticky, squishy fig has been a gastronomic pleasure since the beginning of time. Fig trees purportedly shaded Adam and Eve and provided them with their first hint of clothing. Archaeologists have found fig branches next to human remains that date from more than 7,000 years ago. Some scientists believe the fruit trees may have been among the first domesticated crops.
We don’t have to tell you that Mozzarella di Bufala is a miraculous food. One bite of its milky, sweet, pure, gooey, silky perfection is all it takes to convert chefs, diners, consumers and foodies.
Anna Juhl, founder and tour host of Cheese Journeys, which creates food travel opportunities around artisan cheeses while promoting the awareness of producers, serves as the guide throughout our nine-day Cheddar expedition through some of England’s most beautiful countryside in Devon and Somerset.
Recently, I’ve noticed fondue sets, including a pot, table stand with burner and color-coated forks, are being sold in cookware shops and online again. I say “again” because a couple of times in my past, serving fondue was all the rage, and I loved serving this to my family and friends.