Oser Communications Group

Gourmet News September 2014

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BY LUCAS WITMAN As Mike Taylor, FDA Deputy Commissioner for Food and Vet- erinary Science, approached the microphone and prepared to ad- dress the assembled members of the American Cheese Society at their 2014 conference, there was a collective air of uncertainty in the room. A day earlier, Taylor and six of his colleagues at the FDA had met with ACS leader- ship to discuss how best to im- prove communications between the two bodies – the first time such a meeting had ever taken BY LUCAS WITMAN For those venturing into the bur- geoning world of American farm- stead cheeses there is probably no better point of entry than New York's Saxelby Cheesemongers, and there is perhaps no better tour guide than the store's founder and namesake Anne Sax- elby. Saxelby has dedicated her career to promoting the craft of American cheesemaking, and at her flagship cheese shop in Man- hattan's Essex Market, hungry shoppers can indulge in some of the best dairy products the north- eastern United States has to offer. Saxelby began her career as an Celebrate an American Craft at NYC's Saxelby Cheesemongers Continued on PAGE 10 UPDATE: Oils & Vinegars SEE PAGE 19 MARKETWATCH: Seasonings & Spices SEE PAGE 28 SPECIAL FEATURE: Pastas & Sauces SEE PAGE 29 Continued on PAGE 6 Continued on PAGE 11 Continued on PAGE 16 art student at New York Univer- sity, but it was during an early em- ployment opportunity at New York's most celebrated cheese- monger Murray's Cheese that she fell in love with the dairy staple. Her stint at Murray's led her to an internship at Cato Corner Farm, a small dairy and artisan cheese producer in Colchester, Connecti- cut, where she began to open her eyes to the immense world of American farmstead cheeses. From there, Saxelby began travel- ing around the United States and eventually Europe, visiting small family dairy farms and educating herself about the artisan cheese- making process. From the beginning of her ca- reer, Saxelby knew that she wanted to open her own business, but it took her a while to find her niche within the specialty food landscape. While traveling in Paris, she became acquainted with Fromagerie Laurent Dubois, a gourmet store specializing only in artisan cheeses. It occurred to her that there was no equivalent to this shop in New York City. "In New York, you find all these spe- cialty food stores, but there was nobody just focused on cheese and dairy," she said. "Cheese is where my expertise is. I'm not an expert on olive oil. I'm not an ex- pert on vinegar. I'm not an expert on the best olive or cured meat se- lection. So this is perfect for me." In 2006, Saxelby first opened her eponymous shop in the eclec- tic Essex Market on Manhattan's Lower East Side. The modest shop occupies a mere 150 square feet and includes a long counter, finishing at a simple 3-foot cheese case. A walk-in refrigerator rounds out the location, where shoppers can pick up milk, cream, butter and other dairy sta- ples. Saxelby in part credits the Food Companies Brace for U.S.-EU Trade Partnership Making Cheese in an Age of Regulation: The Uncertain State of the American Cheese Industry place. Now, as hundreds of artisan cheesemakers, cheesemongers, affineurs and distributors lunched on salads and lo mein, they anx- iously awaited word from the man who holds the authority to pre- cisely define how their industry operates. With new regulations emerging on a regular basis, often without warning, and current policies being formulated and reformu- lated with no predictable regular- ity, government bodies today seem more interested in the regu- lation of the American cheese in- dustry than ever before. Many cheese professionals express con- cern that a method that they em- ploy today or an ingredient that they introduce could be prohib- ited before the product even makes it to market. Without a doubt, government regulation is one of the most significant factors affecting the craft of American cheesemaking today. The good news for cheese professionals, however, is that government reg- ulators seem finally to be commit- ting themselves to working with BY LUCAS WITMAN "Cheesemakers, it's really sim- ple – This is your night." With those words, Tom Kooiman, Chair of the Judging and Com- petition Committee for the American Cheese Society Awards kicked off a ceremony on July 31, where the best spe- cialty cheesemakers working in the Americas today were hon- ored for their craft. For one cheesemaker in particular, the Vermont's Farms for City Kids Foundation Triumphs at 2014 ACS Competition, Winning Best of Show evening really did prove to be a special night, as Vermont's Farms for City Kids Foundation walked away a Best of Show first place award winner for its Alpine-style Tarentaise Reserve. "I am so honored and grate- ful, and I would like to accept this award on behalf of our farm but also the encouragement of all of you for making this event so special for all of us cheese- makers," said Jeremy Stephen- son, Cheese Program Director for Farms for City Kids Founda- tion, as he accepted the award. This year, 1,685 cheeses were submitted to the American Cheese Society Judging and Competition team for appraisal, including products made by 248 different companies. The cheeses arrived from through- out the United States, but also BY DAVE BERNARD U.S. and European Union nego- tiators have entered a second year of talks on what would be the largest-ever bilateral trade and in- vestment agreement. The Transat- lantic Trade and Investment Partnership seeks to further boost a trade zone that already accounts for more than a third of the world's economic activity, or about $32 trillion annually. An agreement would create a nearly tariff-free trade zone with uni- form regulatory processes and streamlined standards and prod- uct testing requirements. The an- ticipated pact could boost the trade of everything from canned asparagus to jet engines, expand the availability of services and in- crease stock purchases. Propo- nents estimate that each side could see its economy increase by $100 billion a year. For retailers, consummation of this agreement could create new opportunities. "The first thing is we'll hopefully all have access to a bigger variety and greater qual- ity of products from Europe," said Jonathan Harris, co-owner of one of the country's largest Spanish food retailers, e-merchant La Tienda of Williamsburg, Virginia. VOLUME 79, NUMBER 9 SEPTEMBER 2014 n $7.00 TRADE SHOW BUZZ n Excitement Builds as Natural Products Expo East Prepares to Host Record Number of New Exhibitors and Products PAGE 8 HOT PRODUCTS n Wixon Private Label Dry Mixes and Seasonings PAGE 13 SUPPLIER BUSINESS n Tortuga Rum Cake Company Brings Caribbean Flair to U.S. Gourmet Market Shelves PAGE 15 RETAILER NEWS n US Foods Opens Nation's Fourth CHEF'STORE in Tempe, Ariz. PAGE 16 SPECIALTY DISTRIBUTORS & BROKERS n KeHE Distributors Acquires Health and Wellness Brand Nature's Best PAGE 18 News ..............................................4 Ad Index .......................................35 Smorgasbord ................................35 www.gourmetnews.com G OURMET N EWS T H E B U S I N E S S N E W S P A P E R F O R T H E G O U R M E T I N D U S T R Y ® American cheese artisans work to adapt their craft in a time when government officials seem more committed than ever to having their own say in how cheese should be made

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