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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cheesemakers I have Known

The sub-title of this should be "and loved". Pictured are Eric Randu from Montbardon, and Sarah Hoffmann from Green Dirt Farm. This summer I spend a week in the Haute-Alpes region of France visiting fromageries with Sarah and we met Eric through a friend of a friend.
The week did not represent the most cheese that I have ever eaten--that record goes to the time I attended the American Cheese Society's annual meeting. I would never have predicted that I could ever be sick of cheese, but at the end of the first 24 hours my palate was flagging and by the time I went home, I was glad to have the opportunity to buy many artisanal cheeses at the blow-out, end-of-meeting sale so that I could go home and taste them on my own schedule, doing them justice.

It was my third time in the mountains of France, but it was the first time I spent more time with animals than historic sites. The cheese of interest was Tomme de Savoie, and the very best we tasted was made by Eric Randu. His tomme was nutty and creamy, without any off flavors. Which is how I could also describe the cheesemaker. A man who has gusto and elan, fun to be with even when he is being very serious.

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