Extreme diversity distinguishes the southwest from other U.S. Regions. I-40 (old Route 66) splits the Southwest into two distinct environments: the northern divide has cool climates, tall pines and mountainous terrain, for example, in Santa Fe and Flagstaff. The southern divide is hot, flat and arid, like Albuquerque and Phoenix. A short one hour drive from Albuquerque to Santa Fe provides an unmistakable illustration of the difference in environment.
The stately city of Richmond lies at the heart of Virginia’s agricultural region. Given that local chefs and food producers have access to the finest fresh ingredients, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the community of 220,000 is experiencing a renaissance in its food culture — one that includes a growing interest in, and appreciation for, cheese.
There are plenty of things utah is known for: wacky liquor laws, hosting the 2002 Winter Olympics, superior dental hygiene à la the Osmond family, and phenomenal light-as-air powder widely proclaimed as “The Greatest Snow on Earth.”
Everywhere there is milk, there is cheese. The alchemy of an excellent cheese is well known: the skill of the cheesemaker, the species and diet of the milk source, even goût de terroir. Cheese tasting gives the traveler not only the experience of world flavors, but also of culture and place.
Doug Smith, co-owner and operations manager of Vancouver Island’s Natural Pastures Cheese Co., shares the perfect anecdote to illustrate the growth of Victoria, British Columbia’s cheese culture. “When we started at our local farmers market, we presented a Brie to people they had never really tried it before,” he says. “They would ask things like, ‘Can I eat the mold?’ Now 15 years later, I’ll ask little kids what they want to try, and they’ll say Brie because they love the taste. That’s a very short time period where people didn’t even know what this cheese was and now their children love Brie.”
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.