SPRING 2016
In This Issue
Friends of Traditional Cheese
 
The Oldways Cheese Coalition is happy to bring you the Spring 2016 edition of our quarterly CheeseMatters newsletter. We are also excited to remind you that we are weeks away from celebrating Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day on April 16, 2016!
 
In this issue, you will find:
 
News of interest for our cheese community
Expert advice on building a stunning cheese platter
A great recipe for cheesy flatbread to get you ready for spring
Our quarterly spotlight on a gourmet retailer, the iconic Concord Cheese Shop in Massachusetts
 
Join our online community and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Make sure to use our HT #cheesecoalition to draw our attention, and also tag your photos on Instagram with #rawmilkcheese

Please consider becoming a member. Your support, no matter the size, is a huge help. 

NEW & NOTEWORTHY NN
Last summer Dr. Kurt B. Waldman and Dr. John M. Kerr from the Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University published the results of their experiments on consumer preferences about raw milk and other artisan cheeses. The study is based on interviews and simulated auctions - an economic methodology to assess consumer preferences based on price and desirability at point of purchase - to find out if shoppers were more willing to buy raw milk or pasteurized cheeses. Their findings closely match our own results from last year's survey.
 
Their conclusion: "There is no evidence of positive demand for pasteurization and there is no evidence of a tradeoff between safety and quality." Furthermore, the researchers identify that "on average the artisan cheese consumers who participated in the study worry about food safety. They don't particularly trust that government food safety regulations protect them but they would like to see stronger food safety regulations imposed. This suggests there may be some debate about exactly what stronger regulations would entail and what food safety means to participants." In our opinion, the most important conclusion is that "further limiting the sale of unpasteurized cheese would decrease consumer welfare more than a policy that allows both pasteurized and unpasteurized cheese to be sold and distinguished by labels." (Waldman & Kerr, 2015)
 
You can find the complete article on our resources pages, along many more scientific studies on the benefits of artisan cheeses. 

FRESH FROM THE VAT Vat
Cheese lovers around the world are preparing to celebrate the second annual 
Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day  on  April 16, 2016 . Created by the Oldways Cheese Coalition, this worldwide holiday offers cheese enthusiasts from Melbourne to Manhattan a chance to participate in events highlighting the distinctive cultural heritage of raw milk cheese.
 

 
Last year's Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day was celebrated in more than 500 retail locations around the globe, all providing samples as well as information about traditional cheeses. The Second Annual Appreciation Day is set to be another boon for raw milk cheese, especially in light of the US Food and Drug Administration's recent decision to suspend testing requirements that posed a threat to raw milk cheese in the US.
 
Whether you are a longtime aficionado or newcomer to the world of raw milk cheese, you will be able to experience a wide variety of events around the world, from tastings in Denver to special classes in São Paulo. Producers will offer cheese samples at retail stores in San Francisco, and cheesemongers will share their love of fromage au lait  cry  in Paris and Boston. At press time, we are pleased to announce there are more than 70  registered events. Look for the one (or two!) closest to you.  

When you attend any Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day events, share your celebrations by tagging your photos with #rawmilkcheese and #cheesecoalition 
TIPS FROM THE EXPERTS Tip
Perhaps you're thinking of entertaining at home around Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day, or you're planning a dinner party and want to include a cheese course, and you have no idea where to start. Or perhaps you know a bit about cheese, but would love an expert to weigh in on your choices. CheeseMatters to the rescue. We consulted with  Lilith Spencer, from Cheesemongers of Santa Fe & 2016 San Fransisco Cheesemonger Invitational Champion to share her best pointers on entertaining with cheese.
 
"I absolutely love building cheese platters. However, when it comes to assisting customers in their own endeavors, I find that folks tend to be terrified of the DIY cheese plate. Usually, this fear is rooted in 1) what's "supposed to" go together, and 2) how to portion & display the cheeses. Here's the truth about pairings: there are no rules. Rules can prove useful, but it's also fun to break them -- don't worry, I'll help you out with some advice so that you aren't at a loss when you stare at endless shelves of pickles, preserves, crackers, & condiments.

 

Try this: when shopping for your cheese board, don't think of it as cheese. Instead, think of it as an amalgamation of familiar flavors. Take Brie: in its youth, it tastes of sweet cream; it butters your palate. Instead of thinking, "What goes with Brie?" I invite you to think about what you might eat with something similar, say,  whipped cream : fresh & preserved berries, pies -- citrusy, chocolatey, or other crust-enveloped fruit -- or, to take a more savory route, what you'd enjoy with a slathering of  butter : fresh radishes, for example. Let these ideas guide you. No one expects you to bake a whole pie just to pair with a lil' piece of Brie, but you can connect the dots by choosing a sweet, biscuity cracker & topping it with something dessert-like: lemon curd or even a drizzle of fudge sauce. Riper Brie can take on flavors of wild mushrooms or roasted broccoli, so think about what you'd eat with those foods: roast beef? Try bresaola. Mashed potatoes?
Speaking from experience, ripe Brie is  magic on a potato chip. I, for one, enjoy herbaceous flavors with my fungi, so I might select rosemary crackers or a fennel-studded salami to go with a mushroomy Brie. Next time you're searching for potential pairings, consider what  other foods your cheese is reminiscent of, & pair based on that - don't get hung up on whether or not a particular condiment is "meant to" go with a particular cheese.

Okay, logistics: Unless you have a wire box cutter at home, you'll have a tricky time producing thin, identical slices of harder, drier cheeses. That's okay! You can buy one online. If, when you wedge your knife into a cheese, it splinters & crumbles, yield to its tendencies. Use the tip of your knife, sinking it into the cheese then prying it away, to liberate nuggets from a hunk. You can crumble the whole piece, or leave a glacier-like chunk of it as-is so that the crumbles appear to be cascading from it. This also applies to blue cheeses, which you can crumble easily with your fingers. If you're serving a small, whole wheel of something quite soft, don't force it apart into sticky pieces that will sink & settle into a gooey mess. Instead, halve the wheel laterally. This creates two bowl-like discs, making it easy for your guests to see the paste within & leaving them less afraid of the rind they aren't sure they can eat (hint: the answer is usually yes). When it comes to cheeses that  do slice well (ones that are semi-firm & smoother in texture), use a chef's knife to slice triangles from a wedge, or rectangular matchsticks from a slab. You can stack them, fan them out, or line them up; the repetition of the shape will create a pleasing pattern no matter how you arrange them...just avoid deli-style cheese cubes.
 
When it comes to building your platter, think about two things: implied pairings & color contrast. Now that you're a pro at coming up with innovative combinations, use the power of suggestion to guide your guests by putting compatible components next to each other. Snuggle that wedge of baby Brie against a pile of biscuits & a dish of lemon curd; surround a pile of port-soaked figs with hearty crumbles of strong blue cheese. To create a bountiful display and make your cheeses stand out, frame these little vignettes by filling the gaps between each one with nibbles & bits that partner well with pretty much everything -- olives, marcona almonds, grapes -- they'll provide colorful contrast among all of those creamy, yellowed cheese hues. Your guests will find your cheese board both beautiful & intuitive -- form & function at its tastiest!"  
WHAT WE'RE EATING: RECIPE GUIDE Food
Our friends at Grafton Village Cheese sent us this inventive idea to use their raw milk cheddar, just in time for spring. Try it out and let us know the results. Remember to tag us and use #rawmilkcheese when sharing online.

 
CHEDDAR & MUSTARD SEED FLATBREADS
 
These flatbreads are the ideal accompaniment to soups and stews, or as a midday snack paired with hummus or other dips. You'll taste the notes of caramelized cheddar in the flatbread, which accent the unique flavors of raw milk cheeses. Prepare these flatbreads ahead of time and bake when you need them.
 
Ingredients:
1¼ cups all-purpose flour , but even better with whole-wheat flour
¼ cup potato starch (or cornstarch)
½ cup (one stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into pats
8 ounces 1-year aged Grafton Cheddar, grated (3 cups)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
Pinch ground cayenne
4 tablespoons cold water
 
Cooking Process:
Preheat oven to 400°
Put all ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Run the machine until the mixture comes together into smooth dough, about 30 seconds. Turn the dough onto a cutting board, and shape into a log. Put into a plastic bag and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Cut pieces of parchment paper that fit your baking sheets. Cut the dough into six equal pieces.
Dust a counter or cutting board with flour. Dust the dough with more flour as if rolling out pie pastry. Roll the dough into rectangles roughly 5 X 10 inches, and a little less than ⅛ inch thick. 3 flatbreads will fit on a half-sheet pan.
Bake 18 to 20 minutes on the center shelf of a preheated oven, or until golden brown.
 
Nutrition per Serving : Calories: 420, Total Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 17g, Sodium: 650mg, Carbohydrate: 28g, Fiber: 1g, Protein: 12g.

Follow Grafton Village Cheese on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to find more recipes and tips. 

COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT Store
The Cheese Shop
Concord, Massachusetts
 
Experience and community are the two core values that drive the Concord Cheese Shop, and its owner Peter Lovis. The store has been operating since 1967 in downtown Concord, Massachusetts. Next year, it will be its 50th  anniversary and we will be there to celebrate!
 
The cheese counter features 400 cheeses from all over the world, as well an extensive wine section and lunch service. The sandwich specials are legendary in this little Massachusetts hamlet.
 
Beyond Concord, the store is famous for its annual Crucolo Day Parade. Each year a giant wheel of Crucolo cheese from Trentino-Alto Adige in Northern Italy is brought into town by horse-drawn carriage and the whole town celebrates by tasting and enjoying a day of community.
 
For Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day on April 16, Concord Cheese will feature European classics and great raw milk cheeses from New England, especially some from Massachusetts cheesemakers.
 
The shop's monthly Cheese Lovers' Club selection will focus on raw milk cheeses in April, with three selections that will highlight different styles of cheese made with unpasteurized milk. Customers who subscribe to the club by the end of March will be able to receive April's shipment on Friday, April 8. Learn more about the monthly Cheese Lovers' Club here
 
Follow The Concord Cheese Shop on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates and delicious pictures.


THANK YOU

Sincerely,

Sara Baer-Sinnott
President,  Oldways   




Carlos Yescas
Program Director, Oldways Cheese Coalition
carlos@oldwayspt.org

To fi
nd even more information and delicious recipes, please visit: 

            

Let the old ways be your guide to good health and well-being.

 www.oldwayspt.org 

       

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