On a recent trip to California’s Central Coast, I couldn’t help but be struck by a new generation of winemaking where long-forgotten varietals seemed new and cutting edge again. This was most evident with classic Rhone varietals like Marsanne, Roussane and Grenache Blanc. I was simply amazed that a tradition like winemaking could seem fresh and revolutionary.
The same could be said for cheesemaking. Cheese and cheesemakers have been around for centuries, and yet new styles and methods of making and aging cheese continue to pervade the market. Take the surge of American Artisan cheeses in the last few years. 10 years ago no one knew what Humboldt Fog was, but now it’s a household name. French cheesemakers in Bordeaux had been making Bucheron for centuries, yet it took a thin layer of ash (as in Humboldt Fog) for a new generation of cheese eaters to sit up and take notice.
The cheese industry, like wine, can be very fickle. What’s cool and hip today might not be cool and hip tomorrow. Trends come and go, styles fall in and out of popularity, but rest assured there will always be a crop of cheesemakers ready to take those styles on and provide them with a bit of a renaissance.
Keep your eye out for these “reinvented” cheeses that can be found in any of our cheese cases at any time:
Carr Valley Wildfire Blue – Gorgonzola cheese is reinvented with the addition of hot pepper flakes. The finish is warm and sweet without being overpowering.
Deer Creek “Vat 17” Cheddar – It’s impossible to think of cheddar as being unique and different from the last, but this one truly is! A brilliant combination of cheddar cultures results in this beauty from Wisconsin that will change your perception of what a cheddar should be.
Rougette Grill Meister – A brie that can be grilled? So it’s like halloumi, right? WRONG! Well, maybe only in that it can be grilled, but this baby is made just like your favorite soft-ripened cheese, but with a twist.