Cheese lovers, here’s more cause for celebration: Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day is April 20, 2019. Join the global cheese community in a toast to the history-laden and microbe-rich goodness of raw milk cheese. It’s the fifth annual affair, hosted by our friends at Oldways Cheese Coalition.
But why raw milk?
According to raw milk evangelists, raw milk cheeses have a richer, more complex flavor that results from the increased microbial diversity. Studies suggest that raw milk cheeses ripen faster, develop more intense flavors, and have more aromatic compounds than pasteurized milk cheeses.
Supporters of raw milk cheeses also like the idea of tradition. Before pasteurization, all milk—and thus, traditional cheese—was raw by default, so raw milk cheeses keep with practices of yore.
Plus, for Oldways, consumer choice factors into the situation: They believe that informed consumers should be able to make decisions about traditional cheese. (Currently, raw milk cheeses can only be sold in the United States if they’ve been aged for at least 60 days.)
Here’s how you can celebrate Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day:
1. Try a new raw milk cheese.
Follow #rawmilkcheese on Instagram to get some ideas, then head to your local cheese counter to sample some wedges. If you’re not sure what the raw milk buzz is all about, ask to sample two similar cheeses, one raw and one pasteurized, and see if you can taste a difference. Not sure where your nearest counter is? Check our handy shop directory!
2. Make an all raw milk cheese plate.
Mind your monger’s recommendations, or consult culture’s Cheese Library to make a shopping list of raw milk cheeses. Maybe even invite some friends over to spread the love—or just enjoy it all by yourself.
3. Get raw in the kitchen.
Make a classic fondue using raw milk Gruyère and Emmentaler, or go low-maintenance with an easy cacio e pepe using Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Romano. Either way, pick a preparation that lets the cheese’s flavor shine.
4. Celebrate at your local cheese shop.
Thanks to the work of Oldways, hundreds of shops around the world will be hosting events, tastings, and classes to show off and appreciate raw milk cheese. In a chat with Janet Fletcher of Planet Cheese last year, program director Carlos Yescas anticipated around 800 events. This year, find one near you: United States and worldwide.
5. Listen Up.
Cue up a podcast to help you chug through those weekend chores. Particularly relevant is episode 259 of Cutting the Curd; you can hear all about why raw milk cheeses make mongers swoon. Then, consult the Paxton and Whitfield podcast for an episode all about raw milk cheese and go Behind the Rind for more on microbes.