Counter Culture redux, Cheese on VICE, and more

Cheese cherubs, it’s been quite a week. Here in Philadelphia, we welcomed Culture Magazine‘s entire staff for a 3-day cheese and meat training bonanza called Counter Culture. I got to meet some of you, which made my day (I’m talking to YOU, Julia from Whole Foods Toronto and YOU, Ericka of Cheese Sex Death). And I got very milk drunk.

Over a 48-hour period, I tasted at least 48 cheeses and lapped up some delicious presentations by many of the people I admire most in the cheese business. Rynn Caputo brought the house down with her passionate commitment to Animal Welfare Approval and her push for quality fermented mozzarella — which she makes and sells — over acidified mozzarella (most supermarket varieties).

Jill Giacomini Basch of Point Reyes Farmstead Creamery blew me away with the story of how she and her 3 sisters returned to her family’s Marin County dairy farm to make blue cheese. None of them wanted anything to do with the farm growing up, but they all returned after successful careers in business and culinary to continue the legacy. She described how the awesome dames at Cowgirl Creamery down the road “invited us into their offices and production facilities” to share all of their knowledge. “Coming from Silicon Valley,” Jill said, pausing, “I thought, okay, this is the industry for me!”

Hearing these stories reinforced to me what I love about the cheese community: it truly is a “counter culture.” Makers help makers. Most of the folks you’ll meet aren’t out for themselves; they want other cheesemakers to succeed. I find this so humbling, so rare. It’s why I feel such loyalty to the world of fromages.

Here are a few more bright bites to enjoy at the end of National Cheese Month:

  • Peep Mike Geno’s cheese portraits on VICE, thanks to writer Simran Sethi.
  • Open your ears to Cheese Underground Radio, a new fave podcast focused on WI cheese.
  • If you live in Philadelphia, check out the 20th anniversary menu at Fork, which runs through Nov. 17. Fork supports local cheesemakers and includes a local cheese board on their special menu.
  • Check out the Fete des Fromages at Covered Bridge Farm in Oley, PA on Oct. 28!

Where to Find Me in November: On Nov. 1, I’ll be slinging drinks and signing books at Manatawny Still Works for Craft Spirits Week. On Nov. 3 and 4, I’ll be at the Lodge at Woodloch with André Darlington to lead two cocktail workshops as part of the Chef in Residence Series. Come soak up some suds with me!

Cheesemaker Sue Miller at Counter Culture


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