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why is ther no proper cheese in the u.s

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why is it not possible to buy proper cheese in the u.s,i.e a stilton,gorgonzola,everything is processed,

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  1. We have fabulous cheese available. Look harder.

    1 Reply
    1. re: wyogal

      Clapping.

    2. try shopping somewhere else -- even Publix and Walmart are carrying Stilton and Gorgonzola --

      small stores are even carrying a few raw-milk cheese (e.g., Sweetgrass Dairy in Thomasville, GA as the closest one -- and dozens of small producers)

      1. I'm in the UK and the perception here is that cheese in the US is not good. However even from this side of the Atlantic I realise that there must be producers making good and interesting cheeses. In a place as big and diverse as the US how could there not be.

        6 Replies
        1. re: Paprikaboy

          yes -- and US producers aren't dumb enough to try to sell their products in the UK or France...possibly two of the most well-known cheese producers on the planet. They might sell some as a novelty, but by the time the freight, taxes, and duties are paid, they're going to be woefully uncompetitive pricewise.

          1. re: Paprikaboy

            "perception"

            1. re: Paprikaboy

              Maybe you're thinking of so-called "American cheese," a repulsive processed semi-plastic sold to melt over burgers and ruin children's taste buds. But that is nothing like American cheese, which is as varied as French, English, Italian, or Spanish cheese.

              1. re: Isolda

                When I mentioned US cheese yes I was thinking of "American cheese" because as sunshine842 astutely points out we don't get any interesting US cheeses in UK.
                I realise the cheese in the US must be very varied and assumed (obviously wrongly) that by the rebuttal of the OP' s argument that there was a tacit understanding that I believed there was good cheese to be had in the US. Also I used the phrase perception (didn't put it in quotation marks, because I'm English and everything we say has assumed quotation marks;-)) to attempt to indicate that this is a received wisdom which I don't subscribe to.Obviously all this doesn't translate very well on an internet forum.. Sorry if you misunderstood me.

                1. re: Paprikaboy

                  Ohhhhh.
                  Thanks for explaining. I think most (many?) American's laugh at "American Cheese" too. It's the funny, rubbery yellow-orange stuff sold in slices and blocks in supermarkets. It might be used in children's lunch-boxes, for grilled "cheese" sandwiches or in the "queso" dips found at many late-night parties (hey after a few beers???).

                  If you actually make it over for a visit you will find many local and imported cheeses, both at grocery stores and at speciality shops.

                  I live in a small-town Middle of the USA....check out Capriole Goat Cheese and Trader's Point Creamery for examples of local products you can find in my neck of the woods:

                  http://www.tpforganics.com/
                  http://www.capriolegoatcheese.com/

                  And there are producers ALLLL over the US. We are kinda a big country.

                  Good luck and happy eating!

                  1. re: pedalfaster

                    pedalfaster--you must be in (or near) Indiana (as am I). Check out Jacobs and Brichford cheeses (Connersville, IN). They are excellent. I served them at a recent dinner party to much delight from the guests.

                    Quite like Traders Point Fleur de la Terre. And I love me some Traders Point cream-top whole milk, too!

            2. There are excellent cheese producers in Wisconsin, New York, Georgia, etc...from one end of the country to the other. Sheep, cow and goat cheese, fresh cheese, aged cheese...you name it.
              Check your local farmer's markets, or your county extension office. Check online for artisan cheeses in your area. Whole Foods often carries local cheeses. In our area, Sweetgrass Dairy, Udderly Cool Dairy and Capra Gia Dairy are well known. Where are you located? Perhaps some of your local Chowhounders can give you some tips.

              1 Reply
              1. re: kitchengardengal

                (cool -- thanks for the new names!)

              2. I don't understand cheese, but can you define or explain the definition of proper cheese?

                1 Reply
                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Or the definition of a wholly "unprocessed" cheese, as in, a cheese that springs, fully formed, from her mother's udder?

                2. Nothing like a blanket uniformed Statement to start off a thread!
                  I would bet that there are many more non-prosseced Cheeses for sale in the U.S.A. than processed.

                  1. It's incredibly possible to buy delicious, non-processed cheese in the US and has been for quite some time. I just went to a (relatively) local cheesemaker's and bought some of their (quite good!) farmstead cheese. And I'm in Indiana, not exactly a foodie haven (though here I can certainly find some really wonderful ingredients).

                    This is your first post and I think you're just trying to stir up the pot (yes, hackneyed cooking pun intended).

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: nofunlatte

                      American cheeses have become fabulous, varied, and competitive with the best in the world. From Humboldt Fog, Cowgirl Creamery, Chatham sheep cheeses, and several dozen others I can name, and from Vermont to California. Just look.

                      1. re: teezeetoo

                        and I would defy even the staunchest "real cheese" (whatever that means) supporter to turn up their nose at a chunk of Maytag Blue.

                        1. re: sunshine842

                          Here's one, used to be super when first marketed as they were aged forever as no market yet, now IMVHO,just like Black Diamond, shortcuts and less aging regardless of the time stated by manufacturer.

                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                            Are your referring to the extra sharp cheddar out of Canada DCM? We used to bring it back from Toronto, what I have had recently is a shadow of its former self. I think I even saw an american cheese maker use Black Diamond as a name.

                            1. re: cwdonald

                              Exactly

                            2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                              I use to swoon over Canadian Black Diamond, but not any more.

                      2. I love some of the east coast cheeses I've been able to get at whole foods and farmers market. Chapel hill creamery had a great ashed goat cheese

                        1. Perhaps "great American made cheeses" would be a good topic for " cheese of the month" on the cheese board.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Veggo

                            Too many of them.

                          2. I just tasted (and then bought) Broncha Achadinha from Petaluma CAlifornia :)

                            http://www.achadinha.com/broncha-cow-...

                            The cows' milk comes from Petaluma CA and the goats' milk from Northern NV. It's quite lovely.

                            1. Where do you live? Some areas of the country don't have much in the way of fine cheeses, but the urban areas do. I'm reading your question as availability for sale of "proper cheese" including imports such as Stilton and Gorgonzola rather than "is proper cheese produced in the US", as others in this thread have.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                Ah, I see what you're "saying." We're in Reno/Tahoe which isn't a booming metropolis but we do have a great cheese shop and likes the TJs and Costco. But we have in-laws visiting from TN, near Knoxville, and they were swooning last night over St. Agur Blue.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  St. Agur blue is extraordinary. I cringe when I pay for it, but I swoon while I eat it.

                                  1. re: Veggo

                                    I only swoon :) When I go in the cheese shop, I put on blinders. I get what I want (but in admittedly not huge portions) and I get a number of things, not just cheese. Give them the credit card, don't look at the total and sign :) And a ton of what we have is domestic to stay on topic.

                                2. re: Melanie Wong

                                  Um, not fer nuthin' but urban areas aren't where most of the great product is actually produced.

                                  We have some award winning cheese making going on at farms on easter Long Island, upstate NY, etc.

                                  1. re: mcf

                                    Sure, but that's not the question posed. The question is about ability to BUY cheese, not whether cheese is produced in the US. Imported Gorgonzola and Stilton are sold in urban stores in the US and we could direct the poster to them readily.

                                    And I'll mention that even though cheeses are produced in rural areas, the distribution and sale of them may be targeted to the wealthier urban communities that can afford them. I have many examples of that in California where local rural retailers do not sell the fine cheese made in their own communities, whereas they are on the shelves in stores in San Francisco. Fine cheese follows the money.

                                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                                      I live in a fairly small Midwestern town (Bloomington, Indiana). I have no problem buying imported cheeses and artisinal American cheeses here. Granted, it's a college town with a well-traveled population. If you're in a tiny town out in the sticks that isn't in a cheese-making area, you might have a problem if you don't want to order online.

                                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                                        Ok to your first point. I think the OP was just having a go at us, and in fact, I've seen more than one similar post today, I think, from first time posters. Things that make you go "hmmm."

                                        But to the second, it's true that regional makers are selling in Farmer's Markets and specialty shops in urban areas to get wider distribution, but most, IME, also have farm stores and local distribution as well.

                                        In NY, anyway.

                                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                                          Someone could try any one of the producers listed in the thread and try their website. Many (most?) ship. Internet + FedEx/UPS. Now, international shipping may be more difficult but to say that one can't buy a great many top quality cheeses in the US is inaccurate.

                                    2. I have no idea where you shop in the USA but I'm sitting here in our apartment in Switzerland having just sampled a collection of cheeses we bought yesterday. For a few years now, both my wife and I have come to the conclusion the cheeses we can now purchase at our Florida home in Fort Lauderdale have surpassed what is available in Switzerland. Both in quantity and quality.

                                      Our supermarket for cheeses is Whole Foods. Throw in an Italian and a French gourmet grocer (owned by a Swiss) and that's just the start. Little gems are also readily available at an incredible variety of ethnic food stores which are unique to the USA. And don't forget the Internet where an incredible variety of cheeses are readily available.

                                      For the record, today's cheese plate included a fine fresh cheese laced with morels, a gorgeous young sheep's cheese and a Boschetto laced with black truffles.

                                      Yes, we can do just as well in the USA.

                                      12 Replies
                                      1. re: Ray2

                                        Well, that's high praise indeed. Thanks for sharing your experiences. Too bad OP seems to have gone away. There's always so much to be learned here on CH.

                                        1. re: Ray2

                                          l will have to disagree heartily with your premise. Yes, the US makes a bevy of wonderful products, Canada as well. European imports since the Belgian administration of the EU has banned raw milk cheese from being exported from their own countries. Thus a raw Loire Valley chevre cannot be exported to either the USA or Spain. Many appelations are being changed to allow thermalysed milk in their product with the cheeses being a shadow of their former selves, most Camembert and Epoisses fit in this category, for example. In addition as Switzerland is not part of EU, their gets a lot of it.products come over in raw form, and in fact are imported into Florida under the maker name of Rolf Beeler, whose product is stupendous and l suspect your local W(t)F carries a bunch of it.
                                          Thus while we get a great amount of wonderful items, we are not yet as good as most of Europe.
                                          YMMV

                                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                            Educate me please. I thought it was just very young raw cheeses that can't be imported. No? TIA.

                                            1. re: c oliver

                                              From a foreign country, you are allowed to bring whatever cheese you wish regardless of milk or age for personal consumption. Only caveat is that it is not liquid, like cream.
                                              Butter is OK, yes confusing. For commercial importation it must be 180 days old if raw milk. My major point is the EU are changing cheeses for export, thus it is impossible to get many, many cheeses here anymore, even if old enough they may not be made for export with raw milk but thermalysed.

                                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                Thanks, D.

                                            2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                              Not sure where you are from. While treating Europe as a whole does yield an abundance of fine cheeses, the characteristics of the market preclude its availability. While one of the primary reasons we live here is food, our view is regions, not Europe because that's the way it is.

                                              Europeans think, shop and eat regionally. Expecting to locate an excellent French cheese in the German part of Switzerland is naive. The stores stock the same, or lesser quality, than that readily found in most any US supermarket. Perhaps a trip into Zurich but that's a bit extreme, at least for cheese. We live in the wealthiest Kanton in Switzerland, complete with a high-end cheese shop, no shortage of well heeled consumers willing to part with their money for good food. Yet, this area is the basis of my and my wife's observations that the USA offers us a wider selection, excellent quality and a more adventuresome variety of cheeses.

                                              Italy has wonderful Italian cheeses. Where we have vacationed for years and are in the initial stages of building a home, the cheese availability is limited to the local area (Como and the Lakes Region). Of course the staples are readily available, but don't expect quality beyond an acceptable parmigiana. Cheese from another country, forget it.

                                              For the European shopper, the selection of cheeses is and has always been, thin and limited to a great extent to local production. A mere snippet of what is available in most urban areas in the USA. Add in the fact the quality of American cheeses have increased substantially. So while Europe has an abundance of fine cheeses, Europeans do not.

                                            3. re: Ray2

                                              < Both in quantity and quality. >

                                              Nice. I think it really comes down to the definition of "proper cheese". I am sure that under certain definition the cheese available in US is just as good as anywhere else, and under some other definitions, it is not.

                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                No doubt it does. I have no doubt my definition would not meet other's standards. But we're talking about availability in this thread. Americans need to realize those wonderful cheeses they occasionally have tried but are a challenge to find are unknowns to most Europeans.

                                                Yes, I could shop in London, Hamburg, Amsterdam and Paris on my way to the local Swiss supermarket, but that's a bit of a drive.

                                              2. re: Ray2

                                                Perhaps you have some advice for this poster,
                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/911113

                                                I'm glad to hear that your local Whole Foods delivers the goods for you. The ones I've tried in Northern California are really hit and miss in the cheese department. While they can have good selection, too many of the cheeses are in bad condition.

                                                1. re: Melanie Wong

                                                  That's the biggest issue we have with cheeses and the USA. Our Whole Foods started out good, went downhill quickly then, the entire department was canned (perhaps not run by WH), some refrigeration equipment was repaired or replaced and its come back quite nicely.

                                                  Issues are very poor wrapping paper. Poor employee training. Poor facilities be it a knife or a cold box. Freezing cheese, either a result of the cold box or an employee or distribution. A attitude that bad (for whatever reason) cheese can be sold (as it most certainly does sell to someone).

                                                  Decent cheese is still new to Amercians and it will take time before the distribution system can support what they sell.

                                                  At least in our area we have an excellent choice of good cheeses from a varied group of stores. However, the buyer support is still lacking. We had a cheese boutique open within walking distance from our home. It was superb. As good as a high end cheese shop in Amsterdam or Switzerland. Within a year it had redefined itself into a pannini shop and the available cheeses are pretty much limited to those used in pannini's. Again, further development of the buying group -- which will take time.

                                                  1. re: Ray2

                                                    l helped two W(t)F stores open, one in Florida and one in Missisauga near Toronto, and the head cheese buyer for the company was a genius, great product, great support, great. Notice l said 'was',no longer there. Went back to the Florida store recently and all product was precut, a death knell for me, and the knowledge of personnel was this cheese is a good cheese, and this cheese is a great cheese.For what most food stores pay their employees l am not surprised it is difficult to get good help. Cheese is as much knowledge as wine, if not more and for employees there is no incentive to learn more, as like wine it takes time and tasting.
                                                    If you treat cheese like groceries, anyone can do it and if bad product is sold it is doubtful an untrained employee would even be aware.

                                                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                      I've bought WF cheeses but now that we have a 'real' cheese shop named Wedge - a cheese shop, I go there. At WF I quickly didn't want any service from them because they weren't knowledgeable. As you say, for what they get paid, it's not likely. Same reason I pay more to go to a plant nursery rather than buy at Home Depot and the like. I'm paying for their knowledge and it's well worth it.

                                              3. Are you for real? If so, you need to shop somewhere else. I buy good cheese (real, not processed, from local cheese makers) every week and have been doing so for decades.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Isolda

                                                  Not clear that the OP is "for real." I just clicked on his/her name and this is the only post he/she has ever participated in -- and, even then, has not participated in this one after starting it. But, the post has served as a great forum for exchanging information and experiences about US-based cheeses.

                                                  1. re: masha

                                                    Agreed. Even one-trick ponies who flunked out early in their Spelling Bee can initiate a useful dialog.

                                                2. Agree with posters - there is good cheese here.

                                                  So, a little shout out:

                                                  I recently tried Humboldt Fog cheese made by Cypress Grove Chevre in California...
                                                  F***ing awesome.
                                                  http://www.cypressgrovechevre.com/our...

                                                  We need an American-made cheese recommendation and appreciation thread.

                                                  1. We've just got some info from the Vermont tourist office in preparation for our autumn trip, and there is a whole page of cheese makers! Looking forward to tasting local produce.

                                                    17 Replies
                                                    1. re: Londonlinda

                                                      I hope Jasper Hill is on your itinerary. When I can get their seasonal (not THIS season unfortunately) Winnemere, it's swoon-worthy.

                                                      http://www.cellarsatjasperhill.com/

                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        Though not raw milk like Winnimere and lacking some of Winnimere's highs, L'Edel de Cleron from the eastern mountains of France has a similar texture to Winnimere and is available all year, try it.
                                                        l think Mateo is one of the best American cheesemakers and he does not have a bad product.

                                                        1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                          Now THAT is very good to know! Thanks. I bought a whole round of Winnimere at our local cheese, cut it in quarters, wrapped each in cheese paper, then waxed paper. It lasted over a month and we didn't share with anyone :)

                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                            If your cheese guy has a cryopacker, he could do that for you and it will last for years.

                                                            1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                              Don't toy with me :) And my "guy" is a "gal." But really? In the freezer I assume? And the texture stays fine?

                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                No,fridge. When l cooked a fondue for friends, chowhounds, in Marin recently, l took a 3 lb. hunk of Gruyere des Alpages l had bought in Paris cryopacked in 2010, it was 2 years old at that time. It was better than perfect.
                                                                l have cryopacked softish cheeses in my cheese fridge now that have been there well over a year, some close to two.

                                                                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                  That's simply amazing! Is this a gizmo that you own? I don't want to sidetrack this discussion but I'd like to learn more if you have the time and interest at some point. BTW, you don't mean Marin, as in Marin County, CA, do you? If so, you need to drive "up the hill" to Tahoe and see us. BRING CHEESE!!! Just kidding :)

                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                    The friends l have in Marin, Ca have invited me next year to their cabin at Tahoe, thus will be driving up the hill, as you say in the beginning of the year, maybe March or so.

                                                                    This gizmo is a big device so l do not own one, the cheese shops do, both in France and many in USA.

                                                                    l guess one reason l am now divorced is that l am talking to you more than l talked to my ex-wife.

                                                                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                      Literally laughing out loud :)

                                                                      I have to check this cryopacking thing out. Thanks for the tip. I've wasted more cheese over the years than I care to think about.

                                                                      "Except" for Israel in January and Prague/Budapest/Danube in April, we should be around.

                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                        My Vacmaster chamber vacuum sealer cost just under $700. I've never had a sealed cheese kept in the fridge go bad, no matter how old. (Keeps avocado halves nicely, as well.)

                                                                        1. re: pikawicca

                                                                          Too rich for my blood :) I need to start playing the lottery!

                                                                      2. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                                                        The home version of the cryovac is the Foodsaver. They will work well for storing cheese.

                                                                        1. re: Bigjim68

                                                                          That's what I was thinking but didn't dare suggest. It's just two of us now, but I buy huge chunks from Costco, put it in foodsaver bags, and try to leave as much as I can to re-seal. I a.so have fancy cheese paper but kt doesn't seem to work nearly as well.

                                                                          I'm no expert but the folks at Oxbow market in Napa seem to know what they are talking about.

                                                                          See? Trolls are good for something!

                                                        2. re: Londonlinda

                                                          If you visit the Boucher Farm in Highgate Center, the Gore-Dawn-Zola blue is excellent.

                                                          1. re: Londonlinda

                                                            Earlier this week we had Weybridge cheese, a semi-soft cow's milk cheese made by the Scholten family in VT available from the Cellars at Jasper Hill, linked here http://www.cellarsatjasperhill.com/in...,
                                                            Creamy, delicious.

                                                            1. re: masha

                                                              That looks delicious!

                                                            2. re: Londonlinda

                                                              I just got back from touring some cheese making operations in Vermont. So much fun.
                                                              Try to make it to Willow Hill Farm in Milton, VT for some great Vaquero Blue Cheese.

                                                            3. There are wonderful artisanal cheese makers all over the States. Some of the smaller producers don't market their product in supermarkets so you need to go to specialty shops or farmers market. Here, in Illinois, for example, we have Prairie Fruit Farms, which makes a fabulous goat's milk cheese called Little Bloom on the Prairie, as well as other goat and sheep's milk cheeses, http://www.prairiefruits.com/our-cheeses

                                                              But, as others have noted, there are other larger producers whose products are readily available at mass market grocers.

                                                              1. Just wanted to let stevecole and everybody else know that there were 1794 distinct entries in this years' judging & competition at the American Cheese Society conference. Steve, you poor lad- if your local stores don't seem to have good cheese or aren't handling it well, go pick up and issue of Culture Magazine and check out the back pages for great cheese destinations state by state, visit a Whole Foods, or some other store that takes specialty seriously, or visit iGourmet.com and get it sent to you directly!

                                                                1. Bought a new-to-me cheese at a specialty cheese shop on the north fork of Long Island, NY My new favorite thing to eat: Zimbro by Casa Lusa.

                                                                  1. Wow, big blanket statement. I'm from Montreal where we have a lot of great local cheeses and lots of good imported Euro cheeses. But…whenever I go across the border even to small town Burlington VT I stock up on some really great local VT cheeses. Nice raw milk stuff like Landaff and Ascutney.

                                                                    www.cobbhillcheese.com/varieties

                                                                    http://www.cellarsatjasperhill.com/in...

                                                                    Just noticed the user 'Masha' just above also mention Jasper Hill.

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: JerkPork

                                                                      JP, you are an easy ride to Boucher Farm in Highgate Center in northern Vermont - their Gore-Dawn-Zola blue is special stuff. They use a culture from Canada.

                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                        Cool, Boucher Farm has a stand at the Burlington Farmers' Market on Saturdays, I'll check it out next I'm down there.
                                                                        Thanks for the tip.

                                                                        1. re: JerkPork

                                                                          You can also sample and purchase at the farm. Nice folks. And closer to Montreal.

                                                                    2. Where do you live?

                                                                      1. I agree that there are wonderful artisanal cheeses available all over the US these days. Usually, when I hear something like this, it refers to US prohibitions on un-pasteurized milk cheeses, or those not aged over 60 days. For 'old world' cheese purists this might mean "not proper". Then, too, there are those who don't accept that wine made here can be as good as French, Italian, etc... Whatever!!!!