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Dec 31, 2006 02:08 PM

Why cant americans make cheese ?

I am a brit and i have just returned from Manhattan on what was a really wonderful trip with super food.

One thing i have never understood about america is why your cheese is so very processed and lacking in taste.

Brit and euro cheeses are so very flavourful with huge variation in style and design.

I have been to a great many places in the USA but have never been able to understand this?
any answers?

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  1. what a remarkably naive comment.

    Clearly you didn't take the opportunity to try the wonderful cheeses from Cato Corner Farms, Cowgirl Creamery, Jasper Hill Farm and many other artisan cheesemakers.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dkstar1

      It's not naive, but merely a reflection of the market.

      I agree there are top notch purveyors in the US, but much of what we find in average stores, markets and restaurants is created for the mass market. We also pasturize the heck out of everything.

      Europe has managed to maintain a lot of individuality not only with in regions, but from town to town, if not dairy to dairy. They sell stuff to supermarkets, but they also sell stuff that is super ripe and needs to be eaten, fast!

      Runny, stinky and riper than heck isn't a typical marketing positive in the US, but cheese lovers will know this is the time to order some!

    2. Hey Steven,
      It sounds like you might be referring to American supermarket cheese. It's terrible and seems closer to the food at McDonanald's than anything else. Have you tried any cheeses made by small producers? Some are superb. Humboldt Fog comes to mind which is often considered one of the best goat cheeses anywhere in the world. Also Shelburne farms cheddar is served right along with Keen's, Montgomery, and the other great cheddars. And there are more than a couple. Go into a cheese shop (not a supermarket) like Murray's in the village. They stock hundreds of cheeses from all over the world and ask for some American reccs. I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised by the quality and variety. Most importantly, nothing you tsate will even remotely resemble "processed cheese food."
      Glad you enjoyed your visit and Happy New year!


      2 Replies
      1. re: JeremyEG

        Point Reyes Blue...need I say more?

        1. re: melly

          and Maytag Blue

          True vermont cheddar also stands out

      2. If you visit a decent cheese shop (Murray's comes to mind for NYC) you should be able to locate some really good artisan cheeses made in the US. There really are some great offerings, but you have to seek them out.

        But yes, what you will find in the average restaurant or grocery is generally crap. No idea why that is - it is curious now that you bring it up. I wonder what happened to turn us to a bunch of "pasturized processed cheese food" lovers? Sad.

        1. It's not a naive comment. Sure, there are a handful of good cheeses produced in the US. But relatively speaking, compared to England and the rest of Europe, the US is light years behind in quality and variety and volume.

          Next time you come - go to Saxelby's in the Essex Market. They carry only US-made cheeses, and the stock the best of what the US has to offer. Which is a small selection, but there you go.

          2 Replies
          1. re: gutsofsteel

            Completely agree with gutsofsteel on Saxelby's....happened by during the holidays, and had some outstanding selections, including what the cheesemonger called "square cheese," a goat cheese with superb tang and depth of flavor. It was my impression that Saxelby's carries more local cheesemakers (Northeastern U.S.), but I hadn't asked for an inventory...just a bunch of wonderful tastes!

            1. re: gutsofsteel

              Anne stocks the best of what the EAST COAST has to offer. There's plenty of good cheese made west of NYC that can be found at Murray's, Fairway, and Zabar's and more is being developed all the time.
              US cheese makers may be playing catch-up but they're doing a hell of a good job at it. Stevenjf just didn't know where to look (although I suspect that even if he did, what he'd find wouldn't meet his exacting standards).

            2. Can you say, Maytag Blue?


              4 Replies
              1. re: MikeLM

                Maytag Blue has gone industrial. The original cheesemaker now makes cheese under the cheese label Great Hill Blue in Mass.

                1. re: Stek


                  Maytag Dairy Farms
                  2282 E. 8th St. N.
                  P.O. Box 806
                  Newton, IA 50208


                  1. re: Stek

                    Where in the world did you hear that ? I live 30 miles from the farm / facility where the cheese is made and this is shocking news to me. Not saying it's wrong, but it has been underreported if it is true.

                    1. re: jwagnerdsm

                      It/s true, and I honestly think the same thing has happened to Pt. Reyes Blue. Yes, PRB is a smaller operation, but the cheese is not artisan to me. I've visited there and spoken with the cheesemaker (who used to work for Maytag). Now, Rogue River, that's a different animal. Exquisite stuff.