| Selection Caseus: An Exceptional Showcase of Qu�bec's Cheeses
by Joan Kimball
Producing over 52% of the cheese in Canada and offering a vast choice of top-quality varieties, Qu�bec has proudly honoured its cheesemakers for the last 13 years in the Selection Caseus, Qu�bec Fine Cheese Competition (S�lection Caseus, le concours des fromages fins du Qu�bec). It was in 1999 that represent- atives of the Warwick Cheese Festival and the Food Tech- nology Institute (Institut de technologie agroalimentaire
- ITA) had the idea of creating this competition.
The Dairy School Award (Prix de l'�cole de laiterie), the mainstay award of the competition, refers affect- ionately to the heritage of Qu�bec's dairy industry, and more specifically, to the Dairy School farm, the province's sole large-scale producer of cheese and other dairy products until the mid-1800s. In the only contest open exclusively to Qu�bec cheeses, this award is given to the best cheeses in various categories (classes, types of aging, etc) evaluated through sensory analysis by a jury representing the different fields of activity in the sector.
Help Brand the First Annual "American Cheese Month!"
ACS needs you to come up with a great catch-phrase for our first-annual American Cheese Month, which will take place this October!
Help us find a catchy slogan or tag line to brand American Cheese Month, and connect the event to consumers.
If you have suggestions, please send them to ACS via email -- or stay tuned on Facebook and Twitter for our first American Cheese Week Catch-Phrase Contest.If your idea is chosen, you'll get the glory and win some great cheese-centric prizes!
Cheesy suggestions are welcome, of course!
Nominate Your Peers for the Board of Directors or Lifetime Achievement Award
Spring is time for nominations at ACS! Nominations for the Board of Directors and the ACS Lifetime Achievement Award are now open. This year, the Board is recruiting up to 5 new members. Please send your nominations to Nominating Committee Chair Dick Roe by April 20.
Would you like to nominate someone for the ACS Lifetime Achievement Award? We would love to hear from you! You can find out more about nominee requirements here. To nominate someone for this highest honor for cheese industry leaders, submit a nomination form by June 1.
Good Cheeses Make Good Neighbors!
It's exciting that Montr�al is hosting ACS's first-ever conference in Canada this summer (August 3-6, 2011). We are busy welcoming and serving our growing number of Canadian members, and to that end, ACS will be at SIAL Toronto next month (May 11-13, 2011). Look for us at Booth #341 to get the latest information on the upcoming conference, register, make a donation to support our Certification Exam for Cheese Professionals, and more. We hope to see you there!
Grilled Cheese, Please!
April is National Grilled Cheese Month, and we're celebrating with a delicious grilled cheese sandwich recipe from food writer Laura Werlin, author of Grilled Cheese, Please!
Werlin shared her recipe for Chips & Guacamole Grilled Cheese with ACS. She says:
"In this recipe, tortilla chips are on the outside of the bread to give the sandwich its corn-like flavor and to give you the ability to enjoy all the flavors -- the guacamole, bacon, cheeses, and corn chips all at once. Although I prefer using Colby and Monterey Jack separately in this recipe, you can use the combination cheese, Colby-Jack, if you prefer."
Get the recipe for this decadent grilled cheese sandwich, and share a cheesy meal with your loved ones!
Call for Cheese!
SAVOR: An American Craft Beer and Food Experience in D.C.
This June 3-4, ACS will participate in SAVOR: An American Craft Beer and Food Experience
, presented by The Brewer's Association in Washington, D.C. This annual event reaches 4,000 attendees with chef-prepared cuisine paired with 144 craft beers from 72 breweries.
ACS will sample cheeses and accompanying products from our members at SAVOR, and we would love to showcase your
If you would like ACS to sample your products at SAVOR, please contact Rebecca Sherman
(720-328-2788) to learn more about sending cheese and accompanying products to Washington, D.C.
We Need Your Support: Volunteer in Montr�al!
the ACS Annual Conference & Competition relies on countless volunteers who provide their time and talents to ensure that the competition, educational sessions, and special events -- including the gala Festival of Cheese -- run smoothly.
ACS is currently seeking volunteers to support the 2011 Conference & Competition in Montr�al. Volunteers are needed from July 28, when the Judging & Competition begins, through August 6.
If you love cheese, don't miss this opportunity to work closely with leaders in the industry! All volunteers receive an ACS 2011 t-shirt, and a complimentary ticket to the Festival of Cheese on Saturday, August 6.
Interested in volunteering? Contact Stephanie Minior
for more details. We hope to see you in Montr�al!
|See What's Growing at ACS this Season
I hope spring has sprung beautifully wherever you are. I'm happy to share with you the latest news from ACS:
April 1st marked ACS's one-year anniversary as a self-managed association, with a dynamic staff who have raised the bar for our organization. I could not be more pleased to share their latest achievement: a new and improved member database, and a completely redesigned website. The sharp layout, attention to detail, and thoughtful navigation is a huge advance on many levels. I am thrilled with the results, and hope you will be, as well.
While you're there, don't miss the latest information on the Montr�al conference, with a Schedule-at-a-Glance outlining session topics, including several within our new program track on raw milk cheese. Registration for the conference begins on Wednesday, May 4, and entries are now being accepted for the Judging & Competition. Visit the new website and find out how easy it is to enter your cheese!
The creation of a Certification Exam for Cheese Professionals is moving into the fundraising phase, and ACS is actively recruiting sponsors to underwrite the Exam creation. Donations of any size from the cheese community can make a huge difference. If you would like to support this effort, please join with me in making a donation to the American Cheese Education Foundation (ACEF), a sister organization of ACS, to support the Certification Exam.
On this note, many thanks to the 290 individuals who participated in the recent Body of Knowledge (BOK) survey. The Certification Committee is happy to report that three superstar industry leaders have joined the BOK Advisory Committee: Cathy Strange, Ruth Flore and Sue Conley. Thanks to all who are donating time and energy to this important endeavor.
Lastly, I am excited to announce that we'll be kicking-off of our first annual American Cheese Month from October 1-31. This month-long celebration will provide opportunities to celebrate American cheese around the country. The celebration will kick off at the Great American Beer Festival in Denver, from September 29 - Oct 1.
Are you interested in getting involved as a local or regional event organizer for American Cheese Month? If so, let us know -- planning efforts ramp up in May!
Thanks for all you do to support great cheese!
This is your association,
|New and Improved -- Really!
ACS is celebrating its first anniversary at our new Denver headquarters with a gift for our members -- a new website that I hope you will find better meets your needs. While we hope you'll love our new look, what ultimately matters is that we provide you with improved functionality and ease of use. To that end, we have also moved all of our member records to a new database system. This will allow you to have easier access to, and more control over, your personal information -- and it will allow us to roll out new services tailored to your specific needs.
As with all technological "advances" there are glitches and tweaks required to make all the moving parts work together. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we learn how best to harness these exciting new capabilities.
I'd also like to recognize ACS's staff for their hard work bringing this website to fruition. Rebecca Sherman Orozco made our vision for the new website a reality while keeping track of all of the details, and always thinking of the experience of our website visitors. Stephanie Minior painstakingly cleaned up years of membership data and shepherded the transfer of those records to our new system, while quickly becoming an expert on a complex database. I am impressed daily by our staff's commitment to ACS and its members.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the new site, and your suggestions on how we can continue to improve the online member experience, to make the site a true portal for our cheese community. You can reach me at: [email protected].
We Have a New Look!
ACS is excited to launch a new website to better support and promote North America's great cheeses and cheesemakers! We hope you'll love the look, feel, and functionality of the new site. As an active ACS member, you will be able to:
Can't access all the great resources? Maybe it's time to join or renew!
Use the Quick Guide (below) to find your way around the new site. We hope you'll check it out, and share your thoughts with us -- and we'll keep you posted as we roll out new features over the coming year.
Montr�al: A Foodie Heaven
By Liz Campbell
Montr�al is a mecca for food lovers.
Remember, this is a city with French origins, and gastronomic terms like gourmet, bon vivant, Cordon Bleu, and haute cuisine originate from the French language. The French do not suffer culinary fools gladly; so, in order to survive, any restaurant in Montr�al has to be pretty darn good.
|Le Big Zak at m:brgr
Even the humble burger takes on a luster here, with hand-ground beef and custom baked rolls at Le Gourmet and, would you believe, a Kobe burger with truffle oil at m:brgr? In fact, with competition like Dilallo, L'Anecdote, La Paryse, m:brgr and Le Gourmet Burger, it's a wonder there's a single McDonald's or Burger King left in the city.
Burgers aren't your thing? Want to indulge in something a little unique? Montr�al is also a city of immigrants. From every corner of the globe, they bring with them the cuisine of their native lands
-- Greek, Indian, Ethiopian, Japanese, Persian, Moroccan, Vietnamese...you name it and Montr�al has it. Check out Tehran for Persian-style lamb knuckles with fennel, or rice with red pearl berries. The Algerian-born chef/owner of Les Rites Berb�res produces, to quote one critic, "mouth-watering, hauntingly spiced, heartbreakingly tender mechoui." Or you can really push the envelope with food from Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean -- a blend of European, African and Asian traditions in dishes that aren't searingly hot but definitely have a bite.
But you might not want to go international. Qu�bec is home to some remarkable local cuisine, so save at least one evening for a taste of this province. There is a gastronomic revolution taking place in Montr�al, and it's being fuelled by young Qu�bec chefs like Martin Picard, TV celebrity and chef/owner of Au Pied du Cochon; Charles-Emmanuel Pariseau, chef at Le Local; and Chuck Hughes, chef/owner of Garde Manger and recent Iron Chef America champion...(continue)
The Judging & Competition is Now Open!
Spring is finally here! The 27th Annual American Cheese Society Judging & Competition is now open! Keep an eye on your mail for the Competition Entry Form, or log on to www.cheesesociety.org to enter the Competition online.
The goal of the Judging & Competition is to give positive recognition to cheeses and dairy products which exhibit the highest aesthetic and technical qualities. All products are recognized for their flavor, aroma, and texture. The ACS Judging & Competition, the premier competition for North American-made cheeses, will take place on Tuesday, August 2nd and Wednesday, August 3rd in Montr�al, as part of the American Cheese Society's Annual Conference.
Now that all categories are finalized and the entry guidelines for the competition are in place, I thought I would take this opportunity to summarize some important aspects of this year's competition.
- All entries must be made from ingredients originating in North America.
- Cheese must be entered in its original form (whole wheels, loaves or blocks, etc). Entries that have been plugged, cored, or otherwise visibly sampled prior to entry will not be permitted.
- All entries must have been available for sale to the general public on or before January 1, 2011 and for a minimum of six months.
- There are 22 categories with a total of 99 subcategories this year.
- Shortly after the conference, every entrant will receive a copy of the score sheets for each entry, including the judges' comments and overall scores, and the number of entries per category.
- Judges work in teams of two; one technical and one aesthetic. Technical Judges deduct points from a perfect score of 50 for flaws and defects. Aesthetic Judges award points up to a maximum of 50 for outstanding characteristics and qualities.
- The ACS and the Judging & Competition Committee have been working closely with the Qu�bec government and UPS to ensure that shipping will be as seamless as possible.
- ACS will consolidate all the US cheeses on the New York side of the border and transport them to Montr�al on our own refrigerated trucks. There will be no customs forms or international shipping charges for your competition entries!
- All US entries must be shipped via UPS to arrive in Plattsburgh, NY on Thursday, July 28th. ACS will provide competitors with the needed labels.
- Canadian entries may be shipped or hand-delivered directly to the Palais des Congr�s in Montr�al to be received on Thursday, July 28th or Friday, July 29th.
ACS will send out additional information with more specific details for shipping and packaging your cheese after your entry is processed.
If you know other producers who would be interested in entering the competition, please let us know and we will be happy to send them information. If you have any questions or require additional information, please contact Michelle Lee at 720-328-2788, ext. 302, or [email protected].
See you this summer in Montr�al,
2011 ACS Judging & Competition Vice Chair
The 2011 Judging & Competition is
sponsored by Atlanta Foods International
|Ask Dr. Cheese: Microbial Rennet
Many cheesemakers choose vegetarian rennet for economic, ethical or marketing reasons. But for aged cheeses, microbial (non-chymosin) coagulants can present challenges. Neville McNaughton, president of CheezSorce in St. Louis, Missouri, shares his experience with these coagulants. The interviewer is San Francisco Chronicle cheese columnist Janet Fletcher.
When is microbial rennet a good choice in cheesemaking, and when is it not?
I use microbials routinely for ch�vre, quark and cream cheese. There's even a history of them being used in Swiss cheese manufacture in the U.S. because the cooking temperature is high enough to eliminate much of the enzymatic effect. With Swiss cheese, the coagulant plays a very small role in the aging. But microbials are problematic for any aged cheeses made with mesophilic cultures, such as Cheddar, and cheeses with cook temperatures below 110�F.
Lack of flavor or atypical flavors that you wouldn't normally associate with those cheeses, and bitterness.
What causes the bitterness?
Chymosin rennets, such as animal rennet, cleave the kappa-casein closer to the casein micelle, which results in larger peptides. Microbial rennet produces more of the small peptides, which produce the bitterness. The smaller the peptides, the more bitter the flavor.
Does microbial rennet produce bitterness in cheeses ripened for a relatively short time, like bloomy rinds?
It's of minimal concern with bloomy rinds unless the cheese is stabilized and aged for three months or more, like industrial Brie. But for the classic artisan product, you're probably okay with a microbial coagulant.
Any advice for the cheesemaker who wants to produce aged cheese with non-animal coagulant?
We can look to cultures like Lactobacillus lactis, L. helveticus and L. casei. These cultures can remove the bitterness from the ends of the peptide and turn it into an enhancement to flavor. At Kootenay Alpine Cheese in British Columbia, an organic creamery that refused to use cloned or animal products, we made some very good aged cheese with microbial coagulant. We were honored to get two second-place ribbons at ACS last year.
Do you have questions for Dr. Cheese? Email us, and we'll try to answer your questions in a future issue of CheeseBytes!
Get Noticed with an ACS Sponsorship!
Align your brand with the best in the industry as a 2011 ACS sponsor! Our sponsors build powerful, long-lasting relationships with our members, as well as with the wider public through ACS media placements and print materials.
In 2011, consider sponsoring one of these key ACS events:
- 2011 Conference & Competition: This year marks ACS's first conference in Canada, and it affords exciting new opportunities for sponsors. Sponsors will reach the audiences they always count on, but they will also have the chance to explore new opportunities with a receptive and excited cheese community in Canada. Download our 2011 Sponsorship Brochure.
- Certification Exam for Cheese Professionals: ACS is developing a Certification Exam for Cheese Professionals, which will offer an opportunity for food industry professionals who procure, care for, sell, or serve cheese to earn the distinguished designation of Certified Cheese Professional -- the highest credential available to cheese professionals in North America. ACS is seeking partners to support the creation and launch of this exam. Learn more in our Certification Exam Sponsorship Brochure.
- American Cheese Month: Launching in October of 2011, sponsors can get noticed by supporting this month-long celebration with events and educational outreach in every region of the country. Help ACS increase visibility for the North American cheese community!
To learn more about these sponsorship opportunities and benefits, or if you would like to learn how you can support our Certification initiative, please contact Rebecca Sherman at 720-328-2788 ext. 301 or [email protected].
|Connect to ACS
Stay connected to ACS no matter where you are! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (#cheesesociety), LinkedIn, or our member networking site, CheeseWire. Get the latest updates from the cheese community, connect with fellow cheesemakers, retailers and enthusiasts, and tell us what's happening in your world.