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.
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.
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.
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.
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.