This is the November issue of our monthly roundups reflecting on what we found special and poignant in the world of cheese, food, and design. To share your inspiration and have content featured, tag your tweets, instagram photos, and facebook posts using #cgvision!
Wow. November. You wild month, you. November is when the gears are turned up to full throttle, the holiday cheer and angst begin to set in, and we absorb ourselves in the spirit of giving to the ones we love. I’ve met many people this month while taking part in events such as the Edible Escape and Fearless Fest, and it has been refreshing to emerge from my work cocoon to greet and engage cheese curious folk. This is also the first month I am presenting a new series of Private Workshops and Catering, all focused around handmade and artisan cheeses. AND, flying out of left field comes the amazing Cheese Caramels! The response to our tastings of this product was overwhelming, if not somewhat intimidating. The next time we taste our wares at an event, I guarantee I’ll film people’s reactions: there are at least 5 phases of sensory discovery when biting into one small dollop of cheese caramel. Shock and awe are two of them, and it is finished with an epic stateB of euphoria. We’re rounding out December with a few parties devoted to the cheesy caramel goodies, so please check the happenings here.
Politically, November has been a stressful and community building month for small batch cheese production. What is this current that runs within national and international policy? There have been numerous news articles that express deep concern for the future of artisan cheese. In October's monthly reflection post, I highlighted the Russian embargo of imported cheeses. This month, the FDA has threatened the raw milk (unheated) cheese making industry’s future as a whole and Prince Charles has expressed his concern for the future French cheeses.
The prince said that while it may sound “silly” to say so, “a very important part of the whole magnificent edifice of European civilisation rests on the inherited genius and craftsmanship of the people who make such distinguished concoctions”. -thelocal.fr
Let us not forget that the cheese makers and the small batch producers of all types are what create a (food) culture and a story in this country and the next. I only wish we could convince the powers that be that large scale quantity based production solves very little solutions, if any. It is an immediate fix and an immediate Band-Aid from the Industrial movement of yesteryear. I would hope that the advent of technology and the emergent field of design thinking would push us towards larger food intelligence. For once, let’s make this country be about holistic health practices and a well rounded experience. Well rounded, I would say, like a fine glass of wine or wedge of cheese.
If this wasn’t enough for the month of November, it was also the 2nd International Food Design Conference, which I attended. I was inspired in all directions. Academia is still challenging the term Food Design, and may end up naming this emergent field something slightly different. I personally realized that I am on the path to becoming a food designer. What is a food designer? It was hard to pin it down in one definition. On the whole, it is a professional that designs food experiences from the interpersonal to the systemic level. I thoroughly enjoyed the Keynote Speaker, Emilie Baltz, who specializes in food experience design and food storytelling. A long term pipe dream of mine has been to build a larger installation of a Grotto for a museum or other gathering venue, in order to raise awareness about the conditions necessary for cheese to store and age naturally. I cannot wait to unveil this project sometime in future months. In the meantime, I encourage every one of you to check out Emilie’s fascinating website. Dare to dream, my friends! Dare to dream!
Daily, I appreciate Dennis the Prescott’s food photography on Instagram, but I am bowing down in reverence to his Provolone Pancetta Burgers with Parmesan Crisps. B What is so amazing about this recipe is that he layers cheese into every aspect of the dish, but he presents cheese in a variety of textures. I commend his devotion to Parmesan in all its forms. B Read his blog post to learn more about Parmesan and its texture and flavor complexity.
Since I’m fixating on diversity and complexity, and the fate of raw milk cheese is unbeknownst right now, I am having a flashback to many moons ago when I visited Twig Farm in Vermont. Their goat cheeses are raw milk, they have a beautiful, fuzzy, and moldy natural cave, and their operation is truly a little corner of France in Vermont. Although my old blog post is very short, there is a photo journal of my visit that displays the processes of this amazing little farm. To learn more about the differences in raw and pasteurized cheese production, you can listen to this radio interview I did this Monday on Heritage Radio. Go raw milk cheese!