Gouda From The Netherlands is one of the world’s most popular cheeses, and one of Holland’s most renowned exports. It’s also a huge category that encompasses many styles, from artisanally-produced farmhouse cheeses to factory-made wheels. The format of Gouda can be small, gigantic or somewhere in between. Wheels can be crafted with cow, sheep or goat’s milk. For a cheese with such truly diverse varieties, one thing is consistent when it comes to Gouda—it’s a true crowd-pleaser. Kids, grownups, cheese lovers and devoted curd nerds seem to agree that this cheese is often fantastic and definitely craveable.
Carlos Yescas has been a diplomat, professor and united nations expert. He still juggles a number of jobs, including raw milk cheese advocate, cheese judge and researcher. Born in Mexico, Yescas, 40, also distributes Mexican cheeses and is currently setting up a Latin American cheesemaker network to connect producers there with “scientists, gastronomers, chefs, researchers and historians,” from around the world. He hopes to keep traditional cheesemaking going and growing in Latin America and around the globe, which he explains is in danger of disappearing. Oh, and he also throws clay in his spare time.
The nearest airport is the Pau Pyrenees, located in the commune of the department of Pyrenees-Atlantique, our entry into the Basque country and the place our search for the treasure called Jambon de Bayonne—one of the most exquisite dry-cured hams in the world—begins.
Located in the heart of the Canadian prairie, Winnipeg had high hopes of being the Chicago of the North. In the early 1900s, Main Street was home to nearly 40 financial institutions, and the city’s train station was a scale model for New York’s Grand Central Terminal. WWI and financial turmoil intervened, and those plans never quite materialized. Today, the city is Canada’s seventh-largest, with a population of around 700,000. However, Winnipeg is home to a burgeoning food scene that is considered to be Canada’s most underrated—and cheese has played a large role in the culinary renaissance.
I like to equate the rise of Sweet Cheddars to Breakfast Cereal. My grandmother was born in 1892, and her breakfast choice was oatmeal, although some new-fangled cereals were invented when she was a child. All were healthy and none had added sugar.
Today, cereals have insane levels of sugar and breakfast has become the least healthy meal with little differentiation between products. To break into the cereal market, a company must be a large corporation with deep pockets.
The cheese market is in flux:
- Milk prices have been increasing. Feed prices went up last year, so dairy farmers raised fewer cows. Yet, the United States has more cheese in storage than any year since record-keeping commenced in 1917.
- The United Kingdom is less than a year from leaving the European Union, and there is no agreement yet between the EU and the UK. If no agreement is reached, the default is for World Trade Organization tariffs to prevail, and these are substantial.
- The UK is a substantial importer of specialty cheese from the Continent, so if prices rise due to tariffs, demand in the UK will fall, which means European producers will be looking for new markets. The U.S. is a prime target.
- Mexico is finalizing a trade agreement with the European Union, and the agreement includes a protection for European geographic indications — a term for products that correspond with a specific region, such as Champagne sparkling wine or Parmesan cheese. By using a grandfather clause in the Mexican/EU agreement, Mexico will protect U.S. cheese producers who use these names that are protected in Europe. But this is supposed to be effectuated through a revised NAFTA accord, and the U.S. cheese producers aren’t persuaded that this will actually happen.
- President Trump has attacked Canada for its dairy price supports. In response to tariffs from the U.S., both Mexico and China have put tariffs on U.S. cheese.