One island of 10,000 inhabitants, one special wind, 17 herbs and milk from 30,000 Paška Pramenka sheep contribute to making the award-winning Paški Sir (pronounced Pashki Seer), unique to the island of Pag in Croatia. By law, only milk from sheep on that island can be used to make this unique cheese.
Feta cheese has been a part of Greece for nearly as long as humanity itself. It comes from the very first cheese around 8,000 years ago, which was made soon after people began domesticating animals. Historians believe that milk began to ferment while being transported in the stomach of a goat or sheep. The shepherds noticed that the new product lasted much longer than fresh milk—and cheese was born.
There aren’t many Michelin-starred restaurants in New York that offer a private dining room and another for dinner for two or 20 as well as one that gives you a bird’s eye view into the kitchen’s magic. And, still, there are two other spots here for times when you just want to stop by for cocktails and appetizers or add a sweet ending to an evening with a nightcap and dessert.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The U.S. is fortunate enough to have access to a wealth of cheeses, many of which are made on U.S. soil, as the U.S. produces some of the greatest artisanal cheeses from within. A large variety of cheeses from around the world are imported into America, including a good selection of British cheeses that have travelled across the pond.
Jennifer Bice found her life’s work early on. As a child, she and her siblings enjoyed teaching the goats tricks on the family farm. Later, she raised dairy goats for 4H, and then she continued showing goats as an adult. Eventually, Bice’s hobby became a career in her role as the longtime CEO of Redwood Hill Farm & Creamery in Sebastopol, CA, one of the country’s most respected goat dairies and creameries.