Cheese Bytes Masthead 2010
In This Issue...
3rd American Cheese Month is Coming to a Close
ACS Winners Kit is Here!
A Classic Pairing: Cooking with Apples and Cheese
Comte Scholarship for CCPs
Member Milestones
Cheese in the News
Apply to Become an Official Conference Cheesemonger
Let the ACE Foundation Be Your Legacy
Do You Have What It Takes to Become an ACS CCP?
An Interview with Jason Sobocinski
How Are You Celebrating American Cheese Month?

As we near the end of American Cheese Month, let us know: how have you been celebrating? Send us photos of your events, and we'll share them in CheeseBytes and via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! If you're still looking to get involved, here are a few ideas:

-Purchase an American Cheese Month Passport from a participating retailer or restaurant and enjoy discounts for a few more days of October!


-Add and find events on the American Cheese Month Calendar. Some events take place in early November. Even if your events have passed, we'd like to include them in our official events tally for 2013.


-Share photos of your events via Twitter and Facebook


And click here for more great October cheese ideas!


The ACS Winners Kit is Here: Order Yours for the Holiday Retail Season!

Promote winners of the ACS Judging & Competition while adding interest to your retail cheese display! The ACS J&C Winners Retail Kit includes a first, second, and third-place 2013 ACS Winner ribbon, plus a roll of 500 ACS winner stickers to place on cheeses in your retail case.


The kit is $27 for members and $30 for non-members with an $8 flat shipping fee. It includes:


-One each: 2013 ACS 1st Place Ribbon, 2nd Place Ribbon, and 3rd Place Ribbon (3.5 in. rosette, 7 in. total length)


-One (1) Roll of 500 ACS J&C Winner Stickers (1 in. round, water-resistant stickers)


*Cheese and slate pictured are not included.


Order your kit today!


A Classic Pairing: Cooking with Apples and Cheese



Around the country, markets are stocked with incredible varieties of local apples -- and we don't think you can find a more classic pairing than apples with cheese! If you need menu inspiration, look no further than these recipes for a seasonal meal:


Apple and Cheddar Burger (Cooking Stoned)
Apple Onion Cheese Gratin (Moosewood Restaurant New Classics)

Comt� Scholarship Offered to ACS CCPs™

The Comt� Cheese Association has announced a scholarship opportunity for ACS CCPs™, offering them a unique opportunity to win an all-expenses-paid trip to the Comt� region of France to learn first-hand about the cheese's history and production, and to explore the region and its culture.
To apply, ACS CCPs must submit an entry form and short essay by December 2, 2013. You can learn more here
Congrats! 2014 Conference Registration Winners
Congratulations to Sheri LaVigne from The Calf & Kid and Leanne Miller from Whole Foods Market! Sheri and Leanne were randomly drawn from among the individuals who completed the 2013 ACS Post-Conference Survey to win a free registration to the 2014 Conference in Sacramento, CA. We look forward to seeing them next summer!
Member Milestones
Cheese in the News
EU Deal: Our Cheesemakers Lose a Slice, London Free Press, Oct 18
Happy Fall!


With the leaves changing, the harvest occurring, and temperatures dropping across most of the country, we know the holidays can't be far in the distance. It also means it must be American Cheese Month (ACM). 


From the looks of things, ACM is really catching on! From ACM Passports to tastings, to special menus to cheese tours, thanks to all who are helping to raise awareness (and consumption) of cheese produced in America. These efforts are well-timed to make it a big holiday season for our pride and joy! What have you been doing? Make sure to post on the American Cheese Month Facebook page and also use the hashtag #amcheesemonth.


'Tis the season for celebrating America's finest, as demonstrated by an amazing showing at the bi-annual Slow Food World Cheese Festival, where American producers brought 25% more cheese than 2011 and still sold out with almost two days left in the festival! Additionally, the American Artisan Cheese pairing program at the Franciacorta Wine Festival was a sell-out success, with Italians clamoring and asking "where can I BUY these great cheeses"? After a number of meetings with international cheese organizations and watching the crowd react to our members' creations, it is clear that America is taking a seat at the world cheese table, as it were. Watch this space for more information on these topics.


Having just returned from sunny California and the fall board and conference planning meetings, I can confidently predict that Sacramento is going to give our record-breaking conference in Madison a run for its money! In addition to its beauty and affordability, this city that calls itself the "Farm to Fork Capital" certainly appears to live up to its name. Make plans to join us next summer for a first-rate program in a region where dairy holds a prominent place in the hearts of locals. Big thanks to our 2014 co-chairs, Jill Giacomini Basch, Lynn Giacomini Stray, and Juliana Uruburu, plus the all-star conference planning team for their efforts. A true "dream team" from across America is putting this conference together for us.


Our ACS committees, comprised of amazingly dedicated volunteers, are getting down to business to work on food safety, best practices, minimum standards, and a host of other issues germane to our conversations this past summer. ACS is prepared to bring additional resources to bear to ensure that we have deliverables in time for Sacramento. Some of those developments may precede the conference, so stay tuned to CheeseBytes and share your thoughts with us!


We are always looking for additional volunteer committee members to assist ACS in its year-round work, so please contact us if you have interest or talents in a specific area, and you would like to share them.


Let's finish American Cheese Month and the 2013 holiday season strong! The ACS board, staff, and committees look forward to serving you.




Greg O'Neill





As American Cheese Month, October is a great timeNora Weiser in Scarf to reflect on the current state of American cheese. I am often asked about industry trends, but recently I was asked in an interview about American artisan cheese itself as a trend. I was surprised by the broadness, and underlying assumption, of the question. When asked about trends, I tend to mention buzz words that show industry growth and maturity -- affinage, consumer demand, popular cheese styles -- and generally that suffices. Everyone likes to feel they are on the cutting edge of a trend, so in a way, everyone colludes to create the aura of one. But trends are, by nature, transient. And while people like to be part of something "trendy," they don't want to be part of a flash-in-the-pan that might evaporate as quickly as it materialized. That is why I was surprised to be asked about our broader industry as a trend.


What I find so compelling about America's cheese industry is that, while the media may wish to tout it as trendy, it has a solid foundation and history. That which seems trendy is really just a rare combination: a newness of vision coupled with an adherence to and respect for strong traditions. This creates an energy that is powerful enough to move an industry forward. Finding the sweet spot where passion meets profitability is where American cheese thrives. It may come across as crass to discuss the financial proposition in an industry where story and romance are central, but it is the reality of any business. All the passion in the world is not sustainable if it doesn't lead to a viable business model -- and all the money in the world is meaningless without passion and creativity behind it.


I attended Slow Food Cheese in Italy this year, and in meeting after meeting with my European counterparts, I heard the same thing: there is a sense of admiration and amazement at the vitality of cheese in America, the passion of young people getting into the industry, the commitment to professionalize and elevate the work of cheesemongers, and the quality, quantity, and variety of cheeses being made. Like the media, they too wanted to link this to a definable trend -- hopefully one that could be equally successful abroad. Again, I chalked it up to a shared passion between cheesemakers, cheesemongers, and cheese consumers. All are seeking something similar, and the place where these passions collide is the American cheese industry. You cannot force that synergy to happen, and you cannot define it or classify it merely as a trend. To do so undermines the very power that fuels it.


So, while I am happy to discuss industry trends in terms of small snippets of the bigger picture, I can't get on board with calling American artisan cheese, or its rising popularity, a trend. Perhaps the best direction for any industry is an avoidance of trendiness. Industry growth, new products, creative new businesses... these are tenets of a healthy industry, not indicators of a passing trend.


Nora Weiser
Executive Director


Don't Miss Your Chance! Apply to Become an Official Conference Cheesemonger by November 1


Are you ready to test your mettle and skills as the next Official Conference Cheesemonger? Now's your chance to throw your hat in the ring for the opportunity to serve in this prestigious role. Join past cheesemongers Paige Lamb, Jeanne Rodier, Kelly Sheehan, Alexander Kast, Rachel Perez, Jason Herbert, and Leah McFadden in an elite group of cheese professionals who have taken on this role and received all of the benefits this volunteer position offers.


Official ACS Conference Cheesemonges are eligible for the following:

  • Roundtrip airfare to Sacramento, CA
  • 7 nights stay at the conference hotel
  • Personalized ACS logo chef's jacket
  • Free registration for our 2015 conference
  • Your profile and company logo, on our print and electronic materials

An added bonus: hours worked in the role of Official Conference Cheesemonger count toward your application to become an ACS Certified Cheese Professional!


Add this prestigious role to your resume! A full job description and application are available on our website. The deadline for applying is November 1, 2013.


Let the ACE Foundation Be Your Legacy


"Let ACE Foundation be your legacy" are the words with which I ended my appeal for the American Cheese Education (ACE) Foundation at the 2013 conference. What preceded that was a brief primer on what the ACE Foundation is now, and where we're hoping to take it. Now, as we happily make our way through American Cheese Month, I want to shine the spotlight on the ACE Foundation once again.


As the name of the Foundation intimates, its mission is to educate (click here to read the official mission statement). In particular, the ACE Foundation identifies areas within the cheese industry in which education, research, and ultimately sustainability of the industry is needed. The Foundation then funds some of the delivery methods of that education by way of conference scholarships, grant writing, research projects, and the like.


Most recently, the ACE Foundation approved a fund request by the Regulatory and Academic Committee to attend the November conference of the Dairy Practices Council with which they will be working on developing resource materials to address the regulatory and technical aspects of cheesemaking, as well as animal husbandry and milk harvesting practices. The resulting handbook will be invaluable to the ACS membership.


This is just one example of the work the Foundation is doing on behalf of ACS members. The sky's the limit, though, which is why I reach out to you now during American Cheese Month -- and well in advance of the onslaught of end-of-year appeals -- to ask you to consider making your tax-deductible donation to the ACE Foundation  Ensure the growth and future of American cheese and yes: let the ACE Foundation be your legacy.


Laura Werlin

ACE Foundation President


What Does It Take to Become an ACS CCP™?


The Certified Cheese Professional Exam was established to encourage high standards of comprehensive cheese knowledge and service for professionals in all areas of the industry. Testing encompasses a broad range of topics including raw ingredients, the cheesemaking process, storing and handling cheese, selecting distributors, marketing and communicating about cheese, nutrition, and regulations and sanitation.


The exam is not an evaluation specific to the exam-takers job or individual skill set. It is difficult, and it is based on tasks across many areas ("domains") within the industry. Questions cover topics exam-takers may not be familiar with, and most CCPs study for months before taking the exam, especially for the topics they don't have direct experience with. The 2013 class of ACS CCPs spans all areas of the industry: cheesemakers, retailers, distributors, restaurateurs, scientists, and academics. Here are a few quotes from 2013 exam-takers:


"Despite the assurance of "you know this," encouragement from peers and supervisors...wish I would have studied more on own.


"We now have more cheese knowledge than the test questions could ever give us credit for."


"I am better cheese-educated than... [continue reading]



An Interview with Jason Sobocinski


Jason Sobocinski has cheese on the brain. Perhaps it's due to growing up vegetarian, when he ate a lot of cheese as his source of protein. Or maybe it's because he really got into cheese while catering at Chestnut Fine Foods in New Haven, CT. Regardless, Jason's cheese-related projects keep growing and growing, making this chef and cheese expert a force to be reckoned with.


Jason is known as the owner and founder of Caseus Fromagerie Bistro in New Haven, CT, an award-winning restaurant/cheese shop now in its fifth year. He also hosts The Big Cheese on The Cooking Channel, a series devoted to all things cheese.


Jason also owns The Cheese Truck (in its third year), a food truck specializing in grilled cheese sandwiches; he recently opened Ordinary, a bar that serves cheese and charcuterie, with his brother, a manager from Caseus, and another restaurateur in the area; and he has partnered on Mystic Cheese Co., a venture with cheesemaker Brian Civitello. In addition, Jason has paired up with local pizza and beer bar BAR to bring specialty cheeses to great pizza. He says, "It's been a blast putting Rogue Smokey Blue on a Buffalo Chicken pizza or Bucheron with local heirloom tomatoes on a pie. People have been really digging it, too." And if that's not enough, Jason and his wife have 2-month old and 2-year old sons.


In between his myriad projects, Jason answered some of our questions on American cheese, cooking with cheese, and where the industry is headed.

  1. What is it that you love most about American cheeses? "The potential. The growth. The pioneering spirit. It's been really great watching over the past couple years as the American market has improved and grown and become more accessible. But what I really love the most is that I can connect with the people who make the cheese. I don't have the time or funds to travel to Europe! That connection is what really helps with understanding the cheeses' stories..." [continue reading]
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