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

The 5 Cheese Types and How to Store Them

4 Tips for a Perfect Cheese Plate

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


Upcoming Events

A list of all the upcoming cheese events and festivals you need to know about. 

July

Toledo Cheese Days 
Thursday, July 11th – Saturday, July 13th
Toledo, Washington 
Toledo's biggest annual summer celebration includes a parade, car show, pancake breakfast, auctions, beer and cheese tastings, and much more. It’s a family-friendly party, with most of the events taking place on Saturday.

Little Falls Cheese Festival
Saturday, July 13th
Little Falls, NY
New York State’s premier gathering of cheesemakers. Featuring over 120 New York cheeses as well as gourmet foods, craft beverages, live entertainment and more.

54th Annual Colby Cheese Days
Friday, July 19th – Sunday June 21st
Colby, WI
Held in the birthplace of Colby Cheese, this annual festival includes a parade, tractor pull, and food vendors.

Finger Lakes Cheese Festival
Saturday, July 27th
Odessa, NY
Showcasing the cheeses from the members of the Finger Lakes Cheese Alliance as well as the best in homemade, homegrown products in NY and PA. Featured FLX wineries, breweries and cideries will offer tastings, and be featured in exclusive pairing and cooking seminars

American Cheese Society Festival of Cheese
Saturday, August 3rd
Richmond, VA
Sample winning cheeses from among the 2,000+ artisan, farmstead, and specialty cheeses entered into ACS’s prestigious Annual Judging & Competition.

August

Vermont Cheesemakers Festival
Sunday, August 11th
Shelburne, VT
Taste the state's fine cheeses, local, foods, and beverages, and meet the artisans who make them. Spend a high summer day along the shores of Lake Champlain at the historic Shelburne Farms Coach Barn sampling, buying, learning, and networking. 

The Science of Artisan Cheese
Wednesday, August 14 - Thursday, August 15th
Somerset, UK
This two-day gathering of cheesemakers, scientists, and industry folks dives into the technical side of artisan cheese.

Arthur Cheese Festival
Saturday, August 31st - Monday, September 2nd
Arthur, Illinois
3 full days of street festival including crafts, food, flea market, sidewalk sales, parade, kids rides and games, and lots of cheese. An auto show, live entertainment, 10k, Amish strongman competition, antique tractor show… something for every one. Free cheese each day.

Cheese-A-Palooza
Saturday, August 31st - Sunday, September 1st
Kenosha, WI
Happenings Magazine and the City of Kenosha are once again teaming up to create an event celebrating Wisconsin's tastiest product - cheese! Featuring multiple stages of live entertainment, food eating contests, food vendors, family friendly activities, and more.

September

SF Cheese Fest
Saturday, September 14th - Sunday, 15th
Sand Francisco, California
California’s premier urban cheese cheese festival features more than 20 of the state’s artisan cheesemakers showcasing their cheeses. Sip on local beverages, enjoy the live music, and meet some of the best cheesemakers in the area.

Lakeridge Winery’s Wine & Cheese Festival
Saturday, September 14th - Sunday, 15th
Clermont, Florida
Come for a complimentary wine tasting with samples of cheese to pair while enjoying live music, Lakeridge wine by the glass, beer, soft drinks and a variety of food available for purchase.

Slow Food Cheese Festival
Wednesday, September 18th - Wednesday, September 25th
Bra, Italy
Eat, drink and learn about cheese, wine, charcuterie, bread and pasta at the world’s biggest international foodie event. Held in the Piemonte countryside, farmers, cheese makers, cheesemongers and affineurs take over the streets of Bra to celebrate the best cheeses in the world.


Connect with Us


Join the Newsletter

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