A couple of developments in the plant-based cheese-alternative world piqued our interest this week. First, we learned about The Great Plant-Based Con (Piatkus, June 9, 2022) by UK journalist Jayne Buxton. An ambassador for the Real Food Campaign and the Public Health Collaboration, Buxton presents a thoroughly researched rebuttal to the increasingly pervasive, powerful, and well-funded narrative that a plant-based diet is better for the planet and for human health. She insists that she isn’t anti-vegetarian or anti-vegan, but the reality “that individual dietary choices are being exploited in the name of an ideology that is then being propagated based on vast amounts of misinformation is something that should concern us all.”
Second was the discovery that six Whole Foods stores in New York City now stock vegan products from RIND in their cheese cases. While I applaud RIND for their creativity in developing high-quality, aged cheese alternatives, I take issue with their website’s negative characterization of the entire dairy industry—exactlythe kind of misinformation Buxton seeks to counter in her book. Consumers can understand that there’s a huge difference between industrial cheesemaking and the production of the artisanal cheeses we celebrate in culture. Can’t we make room for plant-based foods without vilifying all ranchers and dairy farmers?
— Susan Sherrill Axelrod, Editor
- The first season of Anne Saxelby Legacy Fund (ASLF) apprenticeships has been a big success, with 33 young adults having completed their programs on sustainable farms around the country. Continued support for the apprenticeship program will come from ASLF’s First Annual Benefit on Sept. 14 in New York City, which will feature 60 outstanding chefs. Learn more and buy tickets here.
- A new study found that dairy farms can help in the fight against climate change by sequestering carbon and reducing GHG emissions.
- Fried Out LA Food Truck is the Grand Prize winner of Castello’s “Hype the Havarti Food Truck Challenge.” Jaramillo won $20k for her over-the-top Triple Havarti Truffle Burger. Get the recipe here.
- The persistent drought in France has caused the AOP for Salers, one of the country’s oldest, continually produced cheeses, to halt production.
- Our list of cheesy spots to visit just got longer with the opening of the world’s first cheese conveyor belt restaurant in London. Pick & Cheese features a rotating selection of British cheese plates with curated pairings.
- Vermont Creamery has joined Vanguard Renewables’ Farm Powered Strategic Alliance, an initiative that turns food waste into renewable energy via anaerobic digestors.
- Everyone knows Oprah gives the best gifts, and now there’s an Oprah guide to gift giving for the cheese-obsessed. It’s filled with practical gifts, like agate cheese boards and fondue pots, and some out-there gifts even we hadn’t heard of, like a personalized mac and cheese spoon. We’ll be bookmarking this list for the holidays!
- Brazil’s artisan cheeses are getting noticed, most recently by Saveur. “The Next Big Cheese May Not Be From Europe” spotlights the second-annual Mundial do Queijo do Brasil, September 15-18 in São Paulo. The story points out however, that many Brazilian cheeses cannot be exported because they are made from raw milk, and aged less than 60 days. Read more here.
- Swaledale Farmhouse Cheese has been continuously made in England’s Yorkshire Dales from a recipe created by Cistercian monks more than 1,000 years ago. Due to a lease issue, the sole remaining producer of the cheese has been forced to move its creamery 12 miles away to Wensleydale, which has resulted in Swaledale losing its PDO status. Read more here.
- Utah cheesemaker Schreiber Foods Inc. broke the record for the world’s largest macaroni and cheese dish, which weighed in at 2,151 kgs. (4,742 lbs).