How Can You Get The Best Cruelty Free Cheese Brands – Excellent in taste, okay!
And also respecting nature and animals, obtained and processed, by women and men who live well of their work!
10 Criteria For Choosing The Best Cruelty Free Cheese Brands
1 / Excellent in taste
This is obviously the standard without which we will struggle to convince our customers to consume it …
Farmer cheeses can be inconsistent in quality, we must accept that fact when we buy from someone who works any sort of hand/craft.
However, a cheesemaker who mainly produces cheeses that are unpleasant to the taste may simply not be in control of their production.
In short: good taste is an essential factor … but subjective!
2 / Raw milk
Small and medium-sized structures master it well today, more restrictive than pasteurized milk.
Pasteurization is the action of heating milk, usually for 15 seconds at 72 ° C. It proved to be very useful at the end of the 19th century, but is no longer necessary today in a well-protected environment.
Thermalized milk is heated milk but not at the level of pasteurization (around 60 ° C, which eliminates some bacteria, but less than in pasteurization).
The advantage of raw milk is the aromas and flavors that it allows to develop, thanks to the good bacteria present in the essence of milk. Raw milk ensures taste quality and potentially produces better cheese.
In short: A producer who makes their cheese with raw milk is a sign of regard for tradition and proficiency.
3 / Handcrafted
Acts, practices, traditional tools guarantee the authenticity and the final quality of the product.
We can find large manufacturers who have preserved the manual aspect of certain steps, or developed manufacturing tools while maintaining their original nature.
In addition, the term “farmer” is often the sign of production with controlled yields and strong typicity (use of milk from a single herd and on-the-farm product assembling).
Two good examples are the Reblochon and the Saint-Nectaire cheeses, which are more appealing in taste than their dairy counterparts (made in mass dairies).
In short: Good + raw milk + farmer, we are on the right track
4 / Ripening according to its types
Ripening is the method of aging cheese according to three factors: the storage atmosphere (aeration, temperature, humidity) the time, and the care of the ripener.
- The wetter the base cheese, the faster it will develop (fresh goat cheese, Brie, etc.).
- The more it is pressed and dry, the more it will “ripen” slowly (sheep’s cheese, Parmigiano Reggiano, Gouda, etc…)
The ripening process depends on the cheese kinds: soft cheeses are ripened for a few days or weeks, but often require a little time to really reveal their flavors.
For the hard parmesan cheese, you can go up to several months or even years, you have to taste to check that you are keeping a product ripened to the point.
A cheese that is too recent does not have much typicity, not much distinct flavor (too sweet).
In short: The obvious signs of ripening are difficult to pick up, smell, and taste your cheeses to make sure you buy the genuine stuff!
5 / From an extended breeding
Talking about animal welfare in animal breeding is complex: to make milk you need a birth, very often caused by artificial insemination, and the males from this seasonal pregnancy are appointed for meat production.
That being said, this point concerns the way of life of the animal. Guaranteeing them a peaceful daily life, allowing them to express their natural behaviors (in particular via access to outdoor pasture), and guaranteeing them fresh, varied nutritional food in a suitable sense of mass breeding.
In addition, respecting the natural cycles of animals is also a point of attention. Goats and sheep give milk respectively at 8 and 6 months a year. They reach maturity heat at the same time for the whole herd (and consequently the births too).
We start having sheep’s milk around December, goats’ milk in February, and after 6 or 8 months the production stops. Thus we should not be able to see their fresh cheeses in the markets all year round.
Seasonal adjustment using light. The goats are in heat when the day declines in fall, we leave the light on later in the goat farm to make them believe that it is still summer. The herd is split in two to have a natural cycle and an offsetting cycle.
Heat synchronization: an animal hormone can be used to trigger animal heat. Its mode of production, of great cruelty, caused to be fought by the association of Animal Welfare, and to also get banned by the organic label.
It’s difficult to identify exactly which farms are using such a breeding method simply by asking the question, unfortunately.
Last but not least, animal nutrition: the impact is very strong on the taste of cheeses. Silage, for example (food fermented under tarpaulin to be kept until winter), can give an unpleasant taste to certain cheeses.
Everything is a question of measurement, but a majority of dry hay in winter and grazing in summer is very favorable for animal health and a better-tasting cheese.
Not importing food from abroad (South American soybeans, for example) is also an important criterion.
In short: a producer who grazes his animals, feeds them with local food in winter, and respects their natural heat cycles, is a good supplementary sign.
6 / Remunerator
In view of the work carried out, cheese is not such an expensive product. Yet, it requires a lot of constant work.
When the farmer is also the producer, processing generally allows him to better value his milk, but sometimes at the cost of heavy expenditures.
In addition, the average age of breeders is 52 years, and candidates to take over in the younger generations are not always easy to find. Farmers and neo-rural people who are embarking on production are thinking more and more about their comfort of life in order to be able to last in this difficult and troublesome occupation.
The future of this sector will depend in particular on our ability to recompense it well enough for it to remain financially attractive to preserve traditions.
In short: Ensuring that your producer makes a living by making cheese, or that your distributor is concerned about this issue, is crucial for the sustainability of the sector.
7 / Seasonal
Do not confuse the seasonality linked to the natural cycle of the animal (goats and sheep), and the impact of the season on the taste of the cheese (what we are talking about here).
The taste of milk, and hence that of cheese, varies throughout the year, depending on what the animals eat.
Milk produced when the animals are in the meadow or in the mountains are richer and produce more complex and aromatic cheeses.
Refining can complement or compensate for potential taste defects linked to winter production. This is why when you eat Brie at Christmas or Tomme cheeses in summer, they can be very good.
In short: Demonstrating your knowledge of the seasons can be a way to promote your choice.
8 / Organic
The labeling guarantees compliance with strict specifications: organic food for animals, reinforced instructions regarding antibiotics, compulsory grazing, ban on heat synchronization hormones.
Organic and farmer cheese do not cross much, and many organic productions have developed without mastering authentic production (industries, pasteurized milk products, fairly standardized).
In short: Raw milk, farmer, and organic are three very positive cumulative criteria when combined.
9 / From endemic/local breeds
The most common cattle dairy breed in the US is the Holstein.
The cow’s species effect is not the easiest to identify on the taste of cheeses for an uninformed tongue. However, favoring local breeds is always a good sign.
The local breeds are often better adapted to their terroir (climbs in the mountains, humidity in the fields, etc.) and can sometimes guarantee a better remuneration for the liter of milk for the producer.
In short: with local breeds, we often do less but better.
10 / Local
Depending on the quantity, there are quite a few groups of buyers, this is an idea to explore. In the US, you can find farm products from several wholesalers, but no one has specialized in this niche. The last option is to take your car (hybrid) every 15 days and go around the producers of organic farm humane milk.
In short: finding quality and eco-friendly cheeses within 200km of your home is possible, but it sometimes requires putting your nose into the logistics!