Matt Spiegler has written a GREAT review of the new generation of American artisanl cheesemakers cropping up in New York. Excerpt:
“Farmstead and small-scale cheesemakers have sprung up across the country, with some having turned their passion into major businesses — think of the “goat ladies” of Cypress Grove cheeses or Vermont Butter & Cheese. Cheese counters are commonplace in towns both small and large, and the American consumer’s palette has expanded to include cheeses stinky, nutty and moldy. Terms like “washed-rind,” “alpine” and “mold-ripened” have crept into the common American lexicon. In 1987, the American Cheese Society Conference had 170 entries. Last year, there were over 1,700.
Along with this revolution have come men and women who started as home cheesemakers and are, through a multitude of paths, making their way into the cheese world as professionals. Working over large pots on home stoves, aging their wheels in modified wine refrigerators, fiddling with pH meters, hygrometers and salinometers, they started their careers by bringing a level of obsessiveness — and professionalism — to the home cheesemaking process normally reserved for the cheese plant.”