What is Raw Milk Cheese and Why Should You Eat It?

What is Raw Milk Cheese and Why Should You Eat It?

Have you ever crumbled off a chunk of classic Parmigiano Reggiano and wondered what made it so delicious? Well, one reason why this Italian cheese is so delightful is because it is made with raw milk. But what exactly does that mean? Raw cheese is made with milk that hasn’t been pasteurized or heated in order to kill off bacteria. Pasteurization can be beneficial since it can eliminate any potentially harmful pathogens, but it can also destroy native cultures that contribute to a cheese’s flavor, texture, and complexity.

When made correctly, raw milk cheese is safe to eat and can result in some of the tastiest and most traditional cheeses out there. That’s not to say that pasteurized cheeses are any lesser, we just think it’s time you try some raw milk cheese too.

Here are a couple of our favorite raw milk cheeses.

Parmigiano Reggiano

There are a lot of look-a-likes made in the United States masquerading under the shortened title of “Parmesan”, and these versions are usually pasteurized. The Italian original is rich with savory, umami flavors and crunchy crystals. It’s obviously delicious on pasta, but we recommend breaking chunks off of a wedge and pairing with Champagne.

Gruyère from Switzerland

You may have encountered this famous Swiss cheese on top of French Onion soup or inside a grilled cheese, but have you ever tried it on its own? With notes of toasted hazelnuts and brown butter, this classic cheese is delicious sliced razor thin and dolloped with onion jam.

Roquefort from France

Some say Roquefort is the original blue. Legend has it that centuries ago, a shepherd became distracted by a young maiden just after sitting down to a lunch of cheese and bread in a cave. He went after her unsuccessfully, only to return days later to some moldy bread and blue-speckled cheese. Upon tasting it, he fell in love with the punchy flavor—and Roquefort was born. While we don’t know if that legend is true, we do know that the herbaceous, spicy notes in this sheep’s milk beauty tastes lovely with Sauternes.


Pleasant Ridge Reserve from Uplands Cheese (pictured above)

Made in the style of French Beaufort, this Wisconsonian is the most awarded cheese in America. Cheesemaker Andy Hatch uses only native cultures to make this firm, snackable cheese, resulting in notes of grass, sour cream, and melted leeks. Try it on its own, or pair with some salami for a perfect ploughman’s lunch.

Grayson from Meadow Creek Dairy

This American original is similar to Italian Taleggio, but it comes from Virginia. The bright orange rind is an immediate signifier of the pungent nature. Underneath, it’s much more mild with flavors of steak, leeks, and custard. Try it alongside a Belgian Dubbel: the sweetness mellows out the funk.

Bayley Hazen Blue from Jasper Hill Farm

Hailing from Vermont, Bayley Hazen is a fudgy blue similar to Stilton, which is actually legally required to be pasteurized by English law. This raw-milk, American version has deep earthy flavors and a slight fruity sweetness, similar to dark chocolate. We like it best with a juicy IPA, which teases out the tropical notes.

Reading Raclette from Spring Brook Farm

Another Vermont native, this firm, meltable cheese is modeled after Swiss Raclette, which is traditionally served heated under a special grill and scraped onto potatoes. It’s a wonderful melter, but it also shines on a cheese platter. Bring out the notes of onions and meats with a swipe of whole grain mustard and rye toast points.



Formaticum Cheese

Welcome to the formaticum Blog

Our home to share our cheese chronicles and more.


Categories


Recent Posts

5 Tips for Cooking with Cheese

7 Healthy (and Delicious) Cheese Pairings

Gifts for Cheese Lovers


Upcoming Events

A list of all the upcoming cheese events and festivals you need to know about. Click the event title for more information and the ticket link.

March

World Championship Cheese Contest
Tuesday, March 3rd to Thursday, March 5th
Madison, Wisconsin
The World Championship Cheese Contest is the world’s premier technical cheese, butter, and yogurt competition, hosted by the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association.

Wine & Cheese Fest 2020
Sunday, March 8th
Melbourne, Australia
The organizers of Wine & Cheese Fest have worked very hard to earn the reputation as a premier Melbourne festival. This is largely due to continuously supporting local wine & cheese makers, and local producers of quality, boutique products. 

Oregon Cheese Festival
Saturday, March 14th to Sunday, March 15th
Central Point, Oregon
The Oregon Cheese Festival is a farmer's market-style event celebrating cheese and everything that goes with it.  Sample and purchase local, artisan cheese, specialty foods, beer, wine, and cider from over 100 vendors.  

Mould Cheese Festival
Brisbane, Australia
Friday, March 20th to Saturday, March 21st
Sydney, Australia
Sunday, March 22nd to Monday, March 23rd
Mould Cheese Festival is a celebration of Australian cheese, presented by REVEL in collaboration with Nick Haddow of Bruny Island Cheese. The best producers from around the country  will showcase their produce in a farmers’-market-turned-festival style setting, with bonus cheese classes and more. 

Boston Beer & Cheese Fest
Friday, March 27th to Saturday, March 28th
Boston, Massachusetts
It’s craft beer, cider and cheese…what more do you need to know? Boston Beer & Cheese Fest focuses on New England-made craft beers, ciders and cheeses. Attendees will have access to over 80 craft beers and ciders from 25 local breweries/cideries, as well as tons of cheese from 12 local creameries, and local charcuterie.

California Artisan Cheese Festival
Friday, March 27th to Sunday, March 29th.
Sonoma Wine Country, California
A weekend long celebration brought together by a lively and friendly group of experts and presenters from the wonderful world of artisan cheese. The festival promotes broad awareness of the artisan cheesemaking community and enjoyment of its products.

April

Coulommiers Cheese and Wine Fair
Coulommiers, France
Friday, April 3rd to Monday, April 6th.
For 52 years this festival has been going strong every spring. Featuring a tasting of traditional cheeses and wines and a very rich program of high quality events! 

Cheese Expo
Tuesday, April 14th to Thursday, April 16th
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
A gathering of over 4,000 cheese industry leaders, suppliers, marketers and more will gather to share information about the latest in cheese technology, new products, whey opportunities, product safety, marketing and additional issues affecting our industry. Nowhere else in the world will you find the collection of cutting-edge cheesemaking equipment, business insight, and networking opportunities that CheeseExpo delivers.

Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day 2020
Saturday, April 18th
Cheese lovers, here's more cause for celebration: Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day is April 18, 2020. Join the global cheese community in a toast to the history-laden and microbe-rich goodness of raw milk cheese.

South African Cheese Festival
Saturday, April 25th to Monday, April 27th
Stellenbosch, South Africa
Escape to SA’s favorite outdoor culinary festival over the long weekend! Discover an exciting selection of cheeses, including well-known local and international brands and unique artisanal creations. Experience an incredible range of products that complements cheese perfectly – from wine to beer, gin and bubbly.  

Sixth Annual Carolina Mountain Cheese Festival
Sunday, April 26th
Asheville, North Carolina
Meet the makers, learn about cheese making and crafts related to the cheese industry, sample and purchase local products. Featuring the Cheese Tease Chef Competition, and benefiting Western North Carolina Cheese Trail.

May

Artisan Cheese Fair
Saturday, May 2nd to Sunday May 3rd
Melton Mowbray, United Kingdom 
60 cheesemakers and producers showcase over 300 of the UK’s rarest and most sought after cheeses. There is a full program of demonstrations and workshops including how to make your own cheese and for the kids, butter making.

Gruyère Guild Cheese Festival
Saturday, May 2nd to Sunday, May 3rd
Gruyères, Switzerland
The event is all about conviviality, discovering produce from Switzerland and elsewhere and tasting regional delicacies. At each stand, a new cheese, a new taste, a new produce is presented. From the entrance of Gruyères, the aroma of cheese hovers in the air; not only from the numerous cheese stands, but also from the restaurants that offer traditional cheese dishes.

Victoria Cheese and Meat Festival
Saturday, May 9th
Victoria, British Columbia
Attendees will walk at leisure around the grounds bite-size tastes of showcasing products while pairing the bites with wine, beer, and cider. It is an exciting time in the Pacific Northwest. With the abundance of artisan shops, and restaurants showcasing fantastic product, as well as the relaxing import laws on dairy allows us to share the best the world has to offer. 

Liquid City Cheese Expo 2020
Sunday, May 17th
San Diego, California
Bringing together a curated list of San Diego top breweries, coffee roasters, distillers, kombucha and cider makers, this one day EXPO features unique one-off collaborations, educational presentations, demonstrations, and explorations with cheesemakers from across America. 

Coopers Hill Cheese Rolling
Monday, May 25th
Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
A nine pound round of Double Gloucester cheese is rolled from the very top of the hill and competitors chase after it down to the bottom. The first person across the finish line is crowned winner, with the cheese as their prize.


Connect with Us


Join the Newsletter

Sign up to receive special offers, new product releases, updates from the cheese shop, and more.