Specialty Food Magazine

JAN-FEB 2012

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 47 of 159

CHEESE FOCUS raw-milk Jersey Blue, named the World's Best Jersey Cheese in 2010. From Italy, Casa Madaio's cheeses are gaining traction, says Morton. "Over the years, I have tried unsuccessfully to sell their cheeses, and suddenly the time has come," she says. Casa Madaio's Ficaccio, a fig leaf–wrapped and raffia-tied wheel made from cow and buf- falo milk, is certainly a head-turner. France, Italy, Spain and Britain con- tinue to dominate the import category, but other countries are gaining a foothold. This could be the year that puts Bavarian cheese on the map. Matt Rubiner is finding takers for Anton's Liebe Rot, a Bavarian washed-rind beauty; others mention Bavarian Munster and Limburger, worthy cheeses from a region heretofore best known for Cambozola. Jennifer Gillis of CWI Specialty Foods, a San Francisco Bay Area importer and dis- tributor, predicts a banner year for Belgium's artisan cheeses, such as Cabricharme, a washed-rind wheel from goat's milk; the sheep's milk Wavreumont; and the highly original blue-veined Grevenbroecker. I have sampled all these cheeses, and I share her enthusiasm. They are uniformly sublime. Aging Aficionados If there's a word of the year in the cheese business, 2012's is surely affinage, the art of cheese-aging. Food Matters Again's Brad Dubé argues that acclaimed affineurs such as Jean d'Alos and Hervé Mons have helped revive American sales of French cheese, which had sagged in the wake of conflict over the Iraq war. "American cheese buyers have opened up again to the French," Dubé says. "They all want to find new, interesting cheeses from affineurs." The return of these expertly nurtured French cheeses is on its way, Dubé predicts, as importers note the successes of affineurs' efforts. The affineur's prestige makes it pos- sible to sell little-known regional cheeses such as Clisson (Tome d'Aquitaine) to chefs and consumers who might otherwise choose a more familiar AOC (appellation d'origine contrôlée) cheese. Outlook Good Perhaps the safest prediction for specialty cheese in 2012 is that sales will climb. The flood of new books, classes, shops and blogs devoted to high-quality cheese suggests that consumer interest is mounting. Despite the still-troubled economy and retail prices that can top $40 a pound, specialty cheese remains a draw. |SFM| Janet Fletcher is the weekly cheese columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and the author of Cheese & Wine: A Guide to Selecting, Pairing and Enjoying. Winter Fancy Food Show Booth 4911 46 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE ❘ specialtyfood.com

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