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Tune In, Chill Out, Glow Up: The Wellness Wave Hits Your Cheese Board


Photographed by Nina Gallant | Styled by Kendra Smith

At the turn of the 21st century, you didn’t hear much about wellness. Sure, there were Waldorf schools and Moosewood cookbooks, and perhaps you had a weird aunt who made her own nut milk. But none of us were slouching toward ketosis—vegan pastry was dry, spirulina wasn’t cool, and most folks hadn’t even heard of kombucha. Then something shifted.

Maybe it was aging millennials obsessed with optimizing, or the incursion of san-serif fonts into the marketing of everything from mattresses to probiotics. Ours is not to wonder why—we know only that wellness has glowed up out of its hippie roots and spread across the foodscape faster than a multiplying free radical. In 2021, McKinsey valued the industry at over a trillion dollars, so it was only a matter of time before the goop spread to your cheese plate. Now, makers are sprucing up wheels and their token escorts with nootropics, adaptogens, and mushrooms like cordyceps, chaga, and reishi to create pairings you can feel downright righteous about. Does any of this stuff work? We have no idea—but if the magic of these mushrooms lies only in imparting a feeling of control in a warming world, we’ll absolutely take it.

1. TURMERIC TOMA

Origin: Piemonte, Italy

Milk: Pasteurized cow

+ ACTIVIST MANUKA HONEY

Turmeric is one of those flavors you might not realize you know—it’s tough to isolate from the ginger and pepper it often accompanies. But here in Mario and Edigio Fiandino’s expertly crafted toma, the powerhouse root takes center stage: Sneaky spice permeates a highlighter-yellow paste that’s lively with citric flavor. Pair it with the vitality-boosting enzymes and antibacterial properties in earthy Activist Manuka Honey to truly max out your invincibility.

2. BRIAR SUMMIT

Origin: Warrensburg, New York

Milk: Pasteurized goat, sheep, and cow

+ MILLERS DAMSEL GLUTEN-FREE CHARCOAL CRACKERS

You can always feel great about eating cheeses from animal sanctuary Nettle Meadow, but they’ve made the experience even more virtuous with Briar Summit, a tri-milk pyramid infused with detoxifying and vitamin-rich raspberry leaf tea. Aged 2–6weeks, the cheese is cooling and tart, like a craggy, refined cream cheese. Scoop it up with charcoal crackers to chase your impurities away.

3. GLACIER BLUE

Origin: Trout Lake, Washington

Milk: Raw cow

+ ELEMENTS TRUFFLES MAPLE TOFFEE MORINGA CHOCOLATE BAR

We always love a blue cheese and chocolate mash-up, and this is one that’ll make you feel both decadent and cleansed. Glacier Blue is made with the raw milk of cows who lap up mineral-rich glacial water and graze pastures grown in volcanic soil at the base of the Cascade Mountains, then the cheese is aged in ancient lava tube caves. The result is full of beneficial bacteria and fungi; it tastes great beside Elements’ superpowered chocolate infused with anti-inflammatory and vitamin-packed moringa leaf.

4. PECORINO CAMOMILLA

Origin: Emilia Romagna, Italy

Milk: Pasteurized sheep

+ TOODALOO ADAPTOGENIC TRAIL MIXES (TURNING HEADS AND SLOW YOUR ROLL)

Let yourself be lulled by the floral aroma of this sleepy-time cheese. Coated in chamomile buds and aged for two months, the yielding wheel is made with the summer milk of sheep who wile away their days grazing fields carpeted with the golden flowers. Paired with the adrenal supports found in Toodaloo Trail Mixes—ashwagandha, reishi, andmucuna, to name a few—this wedge will melt your cares like so much raclette. Anxiety sufferers (which, these days, is all of us), take note

5. CHARCOAL CHEDDAR

Origin: Macclesfield, United Kingdom

Milk: Pasteurized cow

+ MOON JUICE RAINBOW JUICE AND SEED CRISPS

Cheshire Cheese Company blends activated charcoal into their mature cheddar to create the gunmetal grey paste of this black wax truckle. It reads ominous, but don’t be fooled—this cheese’s not-so-secret ingredient can help with detoxification, digestion, kidney function, and oral hygiene. Pair it with the Rainbow Crisps from wellness giants Moon Juice to replace those toxins with dandelion, beet, flax, and chia.

Linni Kral

Linni Kral is a writer, editor, activist, and friend living in Brooklyn, with past lives in Boston, L.A., and Chicago. Her writing has been featured in the Atlantic & Atlas Obscura, among others. She’s happiest in the company of cows, books, and groceries.

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