A Celebration of Raw Milk Cheeses

April 14, 2016 9:44 am Last Updated: April 15, 2016 11:17 am

Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day takes place on April 16, with over 600 events in 12 countries. Organized by the nonprofit organization Oldways, the day is meant to highlight the heritage of raw milk cheese.

“Raw milk, unpasteurized cheeses are truly the old ways, and this delicious, traditional food deserves attention,” said Sara Baer-Sinnott, Oldways president. 

Emily Acosta, cheesemonger at Eataly in Manhattan and producer of podcast “Cutting the Curd” on Heritage Food Network said people don’t necessarily realize that some of their favorite cheeses, such as Parmigiano Reggiano or Gruyère, are actually made with raw milk.

“Because there’s no heat treatment [of the milk], you don’t kill off the good bacteria that contribute to flavor and give a sense of place,” she said.

On a recent trip to France, she visited producers of comté cheese, who do not add any other bacteria cultures—there’s only the naturally present bacteria, which contributes to the ultimate flavor of the cheese. She said, “This is why each wheel is going to be super different, depending what time of the year the milk was collected, what the animals were eating, even what mountain they were grazing on.”

Domestically one of her favorite raw milk cheeses is Ouleout, made by a cheesemaker who started making cheese in his apartment in Brooklyn and whose creamery, Vulto Creamery, is located in Walton, N.Y., in the Catskills. He delivers his cheeses to Eataly every Friday. “It’s stinky, fudgy, it’s like eating pudding but stinky cheese pudding,” she said.

Raw milk cheeses in the United States—domestic or imported—are by law at least 60 days old.

New York City events for the Raw Milk Appreciation Day take place at Eataly, Lucy’s Whey, Murray’s Cheese, 61 Bergen, and Campbell Cheese & Grocery. 

Eataly will celebrate Raw Milk Appreciation Day on April 18 with complimentary tastings of raw milk cheeses (noon–3 p.m.); its restaurants will offer different cheese dishes.

For information, see oldwayscheese.org