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product knowledge NEED TO KNOW Specialty Cheese Specialty/artisan cheese encompasses many different styles and flavors. Many industrial sized producers put out "artisan" lines, but a true artisan or specialty cheese should maintain certain qualities and meet certain criteria for producers to truly call it specialty or artisan. What makes it special Chris Roelli, Master Cheesemaker and owner of Roelli Cheese in Shullsburg, WI, says that the volume in which a cheese is produced, the manner and process used to make the cheese and the way producers age cheese are the primary factors that contribute to the specialness of a particular cheese. Roelli adds that cheese doesn't necessarily need to be made in small batches, as long as it's handled in a traditional manner. Small batch, handmade cheeses usually qualify as specialty, but the aging process makes a big difference, as well. "We have a specifically built facility to cellar cure all of our cheeses," Roelli says. "So all of our specialty brand cheese is cellar cured on wood boards, in open air and it's never packaged until it's ready to be sold to the final consumer. For me that's really what makes it special." WISCONSIN MILK MARKETING BOARD The milk used in the cheese making process represents the foundation of the process. For "special," the milk needs to live Master cheesemaker and owner up to the task. Artisan cheeseof Roelli Cheese, Chris Roelli. makers who use quality milk that's been a part of their process for long periods of time know they can count on the milk to maintain the highest standards throughout the process. "My milk comes from a local producer, one local producer that we've been involved with for a number of years and we haul their milk. Even when it's not coming to my factory, we haul their milk to the bottling plant," Roelli says. The market The market for artisan and specialty cheese remains healthy. "I think it's growing and it's been growing progressively for the last 10 or 15 years," Roelli says. "And I don't see any signs of it letting up." The specialty cheese growth runs parallel to the growth of the overall specialty food market. Consumers pay more attention to the foods they eat today. "When you talk about specialty and artisan food, and it's not just cheese, people really want to take ownership of their food these days," Roelli says. "They're paying attention to what they're eating, as opposed to just eating what the grocery stores are trying to sell them and what the restaurants are pushing in front of them. They want to know what's in their food and they want to know all about it, how it's made. The consumer for artisan cheese and artisan food is an educated consumer." Bold, flavorful, hand-crafted foods will continue to draw more American consumers as time goes on. The foodie movement dictates that a diner will no longer settle for bland food. Bold, flavorful, hand-crafted foods will continue to draw more American consumers as time goes on. "The artisan and specialty food industry as a whole has been tremendously successful for a number of years and it transfers to the cheese side of things, as well," Roelli says. Technology To survive in today's business climate, all business people must utilize technology in one way or another, and cheesemakers are no different. While small batch, hand-crafted cheeses carry the specialty tag, cheesemakers still utilize technology as long as it fits into their overall mission and goals. "I don't want to use any technology if it's going to add any artificial processes into the equation that aren't needed," Roelli says. "When I work with my milk, the ingredients that I use are only what are needed for the production. They're all natural. There are no artificial ingredients, no preservatives, nothing like that. But there is some technology out there that we look at." Similar criteria used to decide whether a cheese is special or artisan applies to deciding whether or not to use certain technologies. "Is it natural? Is it a natural process?" Roelli asks. "In a nonartificial way, does it create a better product? That's really what I look for when it comes to technology." instore * APRIL 2016 * 19

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of instore - April 2016

instore - April 2016
Editor's Note - SNACKING: Have a second?
Table of Contents
News - On our radar
Spotlight - By the Numbers: Donuts
Cover story - Snacking evolved
Commissary Insider - Insight Insider: Good to go fresh aims to please
Food Safety - Pathogen Detection
Equipment Weighing the options
Product Category Spotlight: Ethnic, easy and healthy
Packaging: Peace of mind with tamper-evident technology
Operations and Logistics: Traceability in the supply chain
Product Knowledge - Need to Know: Specialty cheese
Merchandising - On Display: Independence Day
Speciality Insights - Consider Gluten-free Bakery
Equipment & Packaging - Latest Innovation: Rapid-cook ovens
Product Trends
Product Showcase
Ad Index

instore - April 2016