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.
Towering grassy cliffs emerge from the atlantic ocean to form what some call “The Island of Cheese.”
Nine hundred miles off the coast of Portugal, the island of São Jorge is a sparsely populated outcropping in the Azores covered with wild hydrangeas, rolling hills, churches and thousands of cows. It’s estimated that twice as many cows live on the island as people, since there are just 9,000 human inhabitants here.
Childhood memories of local cheeses made in the Savoie region of the French Alps were a strong pull for Carine Goldin of Goldin Artisan Cheese, headquartered in Molalla, OR. Her formative years spent there with her cheese-loving grandmother, nearby dairy farms and creameries making local favorites like Tomme de Savoie, Raclette and Tome des Bauges stoked a taste for interesting, full-flavored cheese.
Humility is among the core values Chief Executive Jim Sartori lists as central to his family-owned cheese business, Sartori Co. But maintaining that tenet is no simple feat for a business that’s made a name for itself by producing some of the world’s best cheeses.
In March, Sartori Reserve Black Pepper BellaVitano was named the best cheese in the country, outscoring more than 2,000 entries from 33 states. The cheese headed up a laundry list of Wisconsin-made cheeses that earned top honors in the 2017 U.S. Championship Cheese Contest.
It wasn’t sisters lynn giacomini stray, Diana Giacomini Hagan and Jill Giacomini Basch’s intention to return to the family farm where they grew up in Northern California’s West Marin. But it makes plenty of sense that they did end up here — Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co. is a sort of magical place. The farm is about 40 miles north of San Francisco, perched on Tomales Bay, which opens dramatically onto the Pacific Ocean. In the morning, the pristine air becomes dense with the Pacific coastal fog that settles over and lightly salts the pastures of the Giacomini dairy. The ocean views are stunning, and rye grasses grow tall.
When I arrive at Sprout Creek Farm in New York’s Hudson Valley just outside of Poughkeepsie, it’s snowing for the first time this season. The grey sky blankets the farm’s rolling 200 acres with gentle white flurries. The last of fall’s vibrant foliage blazes from the trees. It’s gorgeous here.