Parmigiano-Reggiano, Comté, Roquefort — what do those famed cheeses have in common? Aside from being kings of the cheese world, they are all made with raw milk. New American icons Bayley Hazen, Pleasant Ridge Reserve, and Rogue River Blue? All raw milk cheeses as well.

raw milk cheese appreciation day logo 2015

This Saturday, April 18, the Cheese of Choice Coalition and the Guilde Internationale des Fromagers are leading a celebration of the cheesemakers preserving these traditional, old world and old world-inspired masterpieces in the face of increasing regulatory challenges. The fact of the matter is that leafy greens have been responsible for more illnesses in recent years here in the US than any cheese, pasteurized or not — and yet the FDA continues to scrutinize both imports and domestic producers of raw milk cheeses.

jasper hill farm | winnimere 2015 | cheeseandchampagne.com

Why do we cheese geeks freak out over these threats to raw milk cheese? It’s not that there aren’t delicious cheeses made of pasteurized milk — there are many — but we love the richness of flavors that the natural microflora in raw milk contribute to cheese. (A new study says those microflora make cheese part of a healthy diet.) And we think the producers who safely craft these cheeses are worthy of celebration every day of the year.

maggie's round raw milk cheese | cricket creek farm

Retailers across the country (and abroad!) will be hosting tastings and offering special discounts on raw milk cheeses on Saturday. Here in DC, Righteous Cheese will be offering a 10% discount on their 10 favorite raw milk selections, and “of course sampling generously.” Visit the Cheese of Choice website to find events near you. If you’d like to become an official Raw Milk Cheese Enthusiast, just $35 gets you into the club and a t-shirt.

raw milk cheese day propoganda

Learn more about what makes raw milk cheese so special in this week’s episode of Cutting the Curd on the Heritage Radio Network, featuring hosts Greg Blais and Anne Saxelby with Brad Jones of the Cheese of Choice Coalition. Listen here.

We want to see what raw milk cheeses you’re eating this weekend — use the tags #rawmilkcheese & #curdwise to share with us on Facebook or Instagram. Cheers to raw milk cheese!

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#biggamecheese | cheeseandchampagne.com

It’s here at last — the official weekend of cheese binging. (Others may refer to it as Super Bowl weekend.) And as is our tradition, we’re here to help you elevate your #BigGameCheese with real cheese. As fate would have it, both teams’ colors are blue this year, so we’ve got two Super Blues facing off for a spot on your cheeseboard: Berkshire Blue of Massachusetts and Big Boy Blue of Washington.

BERKSHIRE BLUE: A raw milk, Jersey cows-milk blue, Berkshire Blue is smooth and creamy with mellow blue flavor. Made by Berkshire Cheese in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, since 2000.

BIG BOY BLUE: “Big Boy Blue is, as you might infer from its name, a big bold blue. With a mottled grey natural rind it is earthy and a little funky, but still a little sweet and quite creamy to temper the blue cheese tang.” A Jersey cows-milk blue from Washington’s Willapa Hills Cheese.

blue cheese ball ingredients | cheeseandchampagne.com

Now you could just set a hunk of blue on your cheeseboard, use it to make wing sauce, or toss it on some fancy-schmancy nachos — but you know we had to make a Super Cheese Ball. I used a New England blue, and as both Washington state and New England are known for their summer berries, blueberry jam was a natural sweet addition. A little shallot and tangy buttermilk keep it savory, and chopped chives mixed with the walnut coating take it blue and green if your loyalties lie with the Seahawks.

blueberry chive blue cheese ball | cheeseandchampagne.com

Blueberry Chive Blue Cheese Ball

Makes 16 servings

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese (about 1/3 lb.)
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon chopped shallot
  • 1 tablespoon blueberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions:

1. In mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, buttermilk and shallot until smooth. Add jam and blue cheese and mix on medium low until fully incorporated.

2. Shape into ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

3. Combine chopped walnuts and chives in a bowl. Gently roll cheese ball in mixture to evenly coat. Re-wrap in clean plastic wrap and refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Serve with pita chips, pretzels and/or celery sticks.

What are your #BigGameCheese plans?

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Cold Nights, Hot Cheese {News & Events}

January 21, 2015

Happy New Year, curd friends! We hope you’ve wrapped up those January juice cleanses and are refreshed and ready for a new year of cheese exploration. This week saw the official National Cheese Lovers’ Day (January 20), but for us it really is just the kick-off of a month of cheese lovin’ — I mean, [...]

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12 Best Little Cheese Shops

December 18, 2014

The 12 Days of Cheesemas are here! And, there are just 12 shopping days before New Year’s Eve, the cheesiest night of the year. We’re highlighting today some of the best places to shop for your holiday cheeses — the independent cheese shops in your own backyard (we hope!). Sure, NYC may think of itself [...]

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A Really Big Year for Vermont Creamery

December 9, 2014

As much as we’re obsessed with seeking out the freshest new cheeses to share here, there are certain favorites that tend to rotate across our cheeseboards with some frequency, particularly around the holidays. And no holiday cheeseboard would be complete without one of the little aged jewels from Vermont Creamery. Our friends at VC have [...]

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Bijou, Vermont Creamery Crown Jewel {& #WrinklesAreSexy Giveaway!}

December 9, 2014

Part II of our celebration of Vermont Creamery’s 30th Anniversary year — read more about our visit to the Creamery here, and continue below to learn about Bijou & our special holiday giveaway! You’ll recall we’ve highlighted Vermont Creamery’s wrinkly cheeses before: Coupole was featured here, and Bonne Bouche here. Bijou is the tiny crown jewel of the collection [...]

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American Cheese Goodie Bag {Giveaway!}

November 20, 2014

Happy birthday to us! This month marks our 6th year of sharing our cheese discoveries with you, dear readers. To celebrate, Jill and I gathered our curd kids for a weekend retreat in Minneapolis (thankfully, pre-snow) and, well, ate cheese. Would you expect anything else? We thought we’d knock off a few missing letters from [...]

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10 American Winners at the 2014 World Cheese Awards

November 16, 2014

Congratulations to the winners of the World Cheese Awards, which took place this weekend in London. Out of nearly 2,600 cheeses from 33 countries, American cheesemakers garnered 10 of 62 Super Golds: Bloomsdale, Baetje Farms, Missouri Truffle Tremor, Cypress Grove Chèvre, California Bismark, Grafton Village Cheese, Vermont Shepsog, Grafton Village Cheese, Vermont Bandage Wrapped Cheddar*, [...]

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7 New American Cheeses for Your Holiday Cheeseboard

November 14, 2014

As we compiled our 26 cheeses for American Cheese Month, we wanted first to avoid duplication from last year’s 31 Essential American cheeses — it also turned into an opportunity to go through a year (or more’s) worth of photos to find the cheeses we hadn’t yet shared tasting notes for. And to realize just [...]

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ABCs of American Artisan Cheese {#AmCheeseMonth 2014}

October 31, 2014

In celebration of the 4th annual American Cheese Month, we featured 26 fabulous American cheeses on our social media pages. Here’s the full A to Z of American artisan cheese, for your enjoyment. Ameribella | Jacobs & Brichford | Indiana Bloomsdale | Baetje Farms | Missouri Coupole | Vermont Creamery | Vermont Dorset | Consider [...]

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