Say ‘Cheese’!

08 Jun 2007

The Atlas of American Artisan Cheese — that’s the title of a book by friend of Slow Food Jeff Roberts published in the US this week by Chelsea Green Publishing.

Another friend of Slow Food, Rob Kaufelt, proprietor of Murray’s Cheese in New York, presents author and Atlas as follows: ‘Jeff Roberts has been a driving force in the movement to develop world class artisan cheeses here in the United States. In his new book, he shows us farm by farm and cheese by cheese why we have cause to celebrate. Roberts proves this movement has finally come of age’.
The Atlas of American Artisan Cheese, a comprehensive state-by-state guide to over 350 producers, cheese styles, milk types, availability and methods, constitutes a monumental contribution to the artisan food movement that has been steadily growing in the States in recent years. It can be truly said to be the first reference book ever of its kind.

‘This enormous undertaking by cheese aficionado Jeffrey Roberts makes us feel proud of what can come from American soil, passion, and culture—both kinds of culture,’ writes Deborah Madison, author of Local Flavors, Cooking and Eating From America’s Farmers Markets. ‘What wonderful stories! Bravo to Jeffrey and all the American artisanal cheesemakers!’
Jeff Roberts, who lives in Montpelier Vermont, is a director and treasurer of the Slow Food USA national board and a Northeast Regional Governor. At the forefront of the US presence at Cheese 2001 and 2003 and Salone del Gusto 2002 and 2004, he is one of organizers of Slow Food USA’s American Raw Milk Cheese Presidium.

The forwards to the Atlas were written by Carlo Petrini, founder of Slow Food International and Allison Hooper, the current president of The American Cheese Society.

In his contribution Petrini comments that ‘The growing number of American raw milk cheeses is a perfect metaphor for the history of agrifood systems and gives us an inkling of what future scenarios might look like. This ‘Renaissance’ of cultural, productive and food diversity shows that our traditions need not be lost, and that an alternative does exist to the mass production and standardization that — for the moment at least — seem to dominate the world of food’.

He ends by quoting Italo Calvino:
Behind every cheese there is a pasture of a different green under a different sky: meadows caked with salt that the tides of Normandy deposit every evening; meadows scented with aromas in the windy sunlight of Provence; there are different flocks, with their stablings and their transhumances; there are secret processes handed down over the centuries.

And concludes that, ‘From now on we can ideally add to these images the vast expanses of America with their “different greens and different skies”’.

Jeffrey P. Roberts, The Atlas of American Artisan Cheese
Edition: Paperback
Format: full-color photographs, illustrations, index, resource list
Pages: 7 x 10, 464 pages
ISBN: 978-1-933392-34-9
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
Release Date: 2007-05-30

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