Cheese is among the most beloved of foods. How could it be otherwise with thousands of varieties to choose from? And it is a food that can be eaten raw or cooked in so many ways, on sandwiches, with bread and crackers, or just plain. It goes with wine, or beer, or, well, some cheese or other really goes with almost everything.
Italian food is ubiquitous across the United States. Mall food courts have a requisite pizza place selling pepperoni-topped slices to hungry shoppers. Lasagna is a staple at the dinner table, and school cafeterias offer minestrone as the soup of the day. Bruschetta is on the appetizer menu at neighborhood bars, and coffee shops stock biscotti in the bakery case. At the grocery store, it’s easy to find prosciutto, gnocchi and dozens of flavors of gelato.
In Colonial times in Massachusetts, cheese was not on people’s radar. When they landed in Boston in 1630, the Pilgrims brought with them mainly beans and hardtack.
The region is rich with history-making events; the Revolutionary War started in Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, followed by the Siege of Boston, the Battle of Bunker Hill and General Washington taking command of the Continental Army on Cambridge Common. That army also ate beans and hard tack. We had the navy bean, the pea bean and the kidney bean. All of them baked.
Since the earliest days of American artisan cheese, the type of milk used to make curd has evolved rapidly. At first, it was all about goat, with pioneering Francophiles like Laura Chenel and Judy Schaad turning the country onto fresh Chevre. Then, still borrowing from European traditions, raw became a focus; then organic, then grass-fed. We’ve seen a renewed interest in vegetable rennets, followed by a push to turn almonds, cashews and coconuts into vegan artisan cheese.
Back in the day, the best way to find great restaurants was to look for the parking lots with the most cars. It’s still a good idea to keep your eyes peeled on parking lots, but these days smart shoppers look for parked food trucks with the longest lines for a taste of the new and unusual.
Top chefs sometimes man the busiest food vending vehicles selling creative dishes at discounted prices. Make no mistake, those with grilled cheese, which can be replicated at home, are not serving your mother’s version.
Looking for a unique gift idea for your cheese-loving friend or a conversation piece at your next gathering? These accessories will take your presentation to a whole new level.
Switzerland delivers eye-popping beauty whenever you visit, but in summertime, the high mountain meadows roll out a welcoming carpet of lush green grass popping with colorful wildflowers. The Alps’ irresistible allure dazzles even the locals. On any given day, you’ll find families, couples both young and old, groups of friends as well as solo hikers enjoying the trails, the scenic lakes, a picnic or a bike ride in their mountainous backyard. And what will you always find in their picnic basket? Cheese, of course!
As the co-founder of Forever Cheese, Michele Buster has been instrumental in bringing incredible cheese to the U.S.— from Pecorino Romano from the Fulvi family to La Mancha’s premium Manchego to Paski Sir from Pag Island, Croatia. She’s developed markets for cheeses, brands, and specialty products and done it all with tenacity, discernment and passion.
Like its namesake, a centuries-old Catholic church nestled in a primarily Protestant section of Coatesville, PA, The Farm at Doe Run’s St. Malachi Reserve cheese stands apart in the cheese world.
“This cheese doesn’t fit into a category in terms of cheese type,” says Matthew Hettlinger, who serves as the farm’s co-cheesemaker with Samuel Kennedy.
When the two began working together at the end of 2013, St. Malachi was in the research and development phase. Unlike many award-winning cheeses, however, this one didn’t require much trial and error to perfect.
For the lucky, such as Greek-American chef and cookbook author Michael Psilakis, Feta cheese has held a long celebrated place in the kitchen and in cuisine since childhood.
“My memories of Feta growing up are very vivid,” he says. “It was always on the kitchen table, and I was always grabbing a little piece. As the seasons changed, there was something different next to it. In the summer, there was watermelon. The sweet watermelon of summer with the salty, briny, tangy flavor of Feta cheese — it was like a roller coaster of flavor in your mouth.”
If you’re like me, a self-confessed foodie (“Hi, my name is Aileen, I’m a restaurant junkie”), you’re always looking, not just for new places to dine and interesting new ingredients and recipes but also for interesting new people, trends and policies. So how do you expand your food and beverage knowledge in order to continually learn what’s happening in the industry?