Monthly Reflections | October 2015

This is the October 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!

Fall is upon us, and I am happy I was able to curate a supper at 61 Local celebrating the shifting seasons this past Sunday, October 18th. Four courses featuring house made cheese, fall fare, and regional wines is a great way to get a group of thoughtful eaters together and discuss all things cheese, food, and wine.  I look forward to hosting more pop-up dinners in the New Year!  We are also winding down from American Cheese Month, and the Cheese Grotto Instagram Feed has been lit up with American made cheeses. It is truly amazing how quickly the American artisan cheese community has grown.  We are becoming a nation of diverse cheese production.  As Charles de Gaulle of France said, “How can anyone govern a country that has two hundred and forty-six cheeses?”  I can happily say that we are reaching that ungovernable mark and then some, which only reminds me of our fiercely independent roots as a country.  Long live cheese diversity!

In addition to the advancements the artisan cheese making community is making, I am also thrilled to announce that the Cheese Grotto Shop has some new exciting holiday offerings: private cheese making workshops, guided cheese tastings, and private cheese catering.  Do you know someone interested in learning about cheese making and cheese tasting? This could be the perfect gift.  You can visit the shop page for more details!

Recently, the Russian food embargo, which bans the importation of all cheese made outside of the country, has been making the news.  The restrictions have caused a series of repercussions for the international cheese community and also for their nation’s cheese lovers.  But, despite all of the negative effects that embargoes can have, they also force people to become more self-reliant in times of scarcity.  Groups of people tend to mobilize around what is important in their daily lives, and in this circumstance, home cheese-making is the catalyst that is bringing flocks of Russians together.  As the article To brie or not to brie: Russians turn cheesemakers as embargo bites states, “The proliferation of cheese aficionados in Russia is a relatively new phenomenon for a country with little history of cheese making.”  By undertaking this new home craft, Russians have discovered the joys of freshly made cheeses: relishing in flavors and textures more vibrant than typical supermarket offerings.  Their homemade cheeses have simple and transparent ingredients with no extra additives.  Before global trade and industrialization, cheese was always made in family kitchens or on small farms for purely domestic nourishment.  It is refreshing that in this age a culture can rediscover this ritualistic practice and claim it as their own.  The happiest ending to this story is that even after the embargo is lifted, many Russians have started a hobby that enables them to develop an appreciation and palate for small, handcrafted batches of cheese.

ILLUSTRATION BY KIM GRAZIANO/TASTING TABLE

The first quote of this Liquid Gold post from Tasting Table, says it all: “Much like later paintings of Elvis, queso is a huge velvet canvas on which to paint.”  I always find cheese and cheese making a tactile playground.  Milk is a liquid that can be transformed into innumerable flavors and textures, and this exciting feeling of possibility can be directly applied to your queso dip philosophy.  Read this recipe, learn from a Nacho King, and become a cheese artist as soon as possible.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY DESIGN MILK

As we finalize the design components for our line of cheese storage, we aspire to make the Cheese Grotto a staple fixture in the kitchen, whether on the kitchen counter or in the refrigerator. B It is a timeless piece, designed with thoughtfulness and consideration for both the aesthetic and the functionality. B Design Milk recently featured Forminial Kitchenware by Black + Blum, a sleek line of kitchen products that achieves these goals. B To view their line of products, you can visit the article here.


PHOTOGRAPHY BY MOLLY McDONOUGH

I am grateful that Culture Magazine ran a feature on the land of Swiss cheese making as there was a time at the ripe age of 21, that I almost made Gruyere Alpage cheese in Switzerland for three months.  I was making cheese in France at this time. I had some loose connections to Swiss cheese producers and my three month visa in France had run its course.  My only option to stay in Europe was to live in Switzerland for three months, after which I would have the ability to re-enter France for another three months.  With uncertainty surrounding the 6 month commitment, I returned to the states with a promise to explore the American artisan heartland with the same passion and excitement I felt in Europe. Their photography slideshow highlights some of the best moments of Swiss cheese life.

That’s all for this month– thanks for reflecting with us, and don’t forget to tag #CGVision to show us what inspires you! Have a safe and happy Halloween!