Ladies and gentlemen, meet Jill Zenoff, winner of the 2019 Cheesemonger Invitational. This semiannual competition is the Wimbledon of the retail cheese world, an opportunity for the people behindthe counter to strut their stuff. In a series of zany challenges, the contestants flaunt their skills at cutting, wrapping, pairing, plating and selling cheese. A combination of Jeopardy!, Top Chef and America’s Got Talent, the day-long battle ends with a winner crowned on stage before a frenzied audience. Despite the contest’s madcap nature, victory confers prestige. For the monger who prevails, doors can open.Read More
It has been raining here in Napa (hooray!) so I’ve had time for some rainy-day projects, like homemade cottage cheese. I had forgotten how easy it was, and how delicious. Twenty years ago, Sue Conley—the co-founder of Cowgirl Creamery —shared her stovetop recipe with me. I made it then, used it for a story in the San Francisco Chronicle and then forgot about it.Read More
Every week, merchants restock their counters with the cheeses they think you want. And then You the People get to choose. Often, you’re predictable (you do love those triple-creams), but sometimes you surprise retailers with your willingness to embrace the new. I’ve been showcasing my discoveries all year in Planet Cheese so thought I would ask some leading merchants what you have liked best. From coast to coast, here are some of your favorites, the breakout stars of 2018. Great choices, People!Read More
These days a new cheese has to have a reason for being or it will never find a place at the retail counter. How is it different? What needs does it serve? Why should merchants make room for it?
Cowgirl Creamery—the California company behind Mt. Tam, Red Hawk and other successes—rarely releases a new cheese, so any debut from them is news…..Read More
October is American Cheese Month, and to celebrate, I have invited some American cheese luminaries to take over Planet Cheese. Last up: Sue Conley (above left), co-founder, with Peggy Smith (above right), of California’s Cowgirl Creamery. This acclaimed company makes Mt. Tam, Red Hawk, Wagon Wheel, clabbered cottage cheese and several seasonal cheeses. I asked Sue to share a cheese-world issue that’s top of mind for her.Read More
It may be American Cheese Month, but for me, everymonth is American Cheese Month. Heck, every dayis. It’s been that way for twenty years, having been an American cheese enthusiast and cheerleader all my cheese life. And so it is that when the Planet Cheesemaven herself invited me to write a guest post on my passion subject, I answered with an enthusiastic, “Yes!” Not only was I thrilled to be asked to do this, but I was especially happy to be shining the light on five American cheeses and cheesemakers by way of Planet Cheese.Read More
Last week, Cowgirl Creamery co-founders Sue Conley and Peggy Smith announced the sale of their business to Swiss dairy giant Emmi. Emmi bought everything: the two retail cheese shops (in San Francisco and Point Reyes Station); the two creameries that turn out Mt. Tam, Red Hawk and the rest of the Cowgirl repertoire; and Tomales Bay Foods, the affiliated distribution company. Conley and Smith will continue to run the enterprise.Read More