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Rail Paul

American cheese makes a splash in Bra, Italy

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The bi-annual cheese tasting in Bra, Italy was disrupted by the fine showing of several American made cheeses. Enough that the moderator suggested that American cheese makers had adopted many quality control techniques to cause the Italian makers to "look over their shoulders".

 

 

 

first, the audience seemed skeptical, even amused, by the notion of these American cheeses served next to one of their sacred culinary touchstones. One of presenters from the consortium made a dismissive joke about the green cans of Kraft pre-grated fake "Parmesan" that many Italians still consider as an American favorite.

But as the audience began sampling the cheeses - Appalachian from Meadow Creek Dairy in Galax, Va.; an American take on Dutch Gouda from Marieke in Wisconsin; Smokey Blue from Rogue Creamery in Oregon - the mood shifted. The tent got quieter as people sniffed and tasted. Husbands and wives exchanged furtive glances. I saw at least four people give each other that classic Italian shaking-hand gesture of the palm turned upward, thumb-and-middle-finger clenched, that basically means, "Are you freaking kidding me?"

 

http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/lifestyles/food--cooking/how-good-has-cheese-become-good-enough-worry-the-italians/gGOhBFnaOrak4eYzNtaHaK/

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But I lusted after dark-brown, caramel-like Gjetost from Norway, Boeren Leyden cheese from the Netherlands that was spiked with cumin seeds, and the strange, spindle-shaped Oscypek cheese from the mountains of Poland. I fell in love with caciofiore, a sheep's-milk cheese that dates to ancient Rome and is made with enzymes from artichoke blossoms and not animal rennet. I returned three times to the stall where the Robiola di Roccaverano was being offered, sampling the coveted sheep's-milk cheese at two days, two weeks, six months and two years of aging.

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I love it! Some 15 years ago we sat at a table'd'hote in the south of France when cheese became the topic of discussion. One Frenchman quipped something like, well, yes, you Americans have that yellow cheese and the grated stuff in the tall green can. It went on this way for some time until I blew my cover and started chatting up the dozens of excellent California, Vermont and New York cheeses, just to start. I guess I got very excited because the elderly gentleman seated next to my husband nudged him and said, "She really can speak French!"

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The price of cheese, I am keeping it out of the bedroom, I told my wife, as a sort of living Thurber cartoon.

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Naturally the title of this thread had me hoping for something somewhat different.

 

A new way to smuggle cheese?

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