Almost a year ago, I started seeing posts on social media about events happening around the US and Europe to celebrate raw milk cheeses. The event, created by the Oldways Cheese Coalition (which I would soon come to direct), made a lot of sense. If we have a day to celebrate cupcakes and another one to celebrate grilled cheese sandwiches, why not have a day to pay extra attention to cheeses made with raw milk? My cheese friends and I were of course excited, but the truth is I didn’t know if this holiday translated to consumers. Did they care about raw milk? Did they even know what cheeses are made with raw milk? To my surprise, they did! Check out last year’s highlights here.
2015’s Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day had over 500 events worldwide, and this year we are almost at 600 events. But those numbers mean nothing if you don’t show up to celebrate with us. Last year, customers really drove the event. Stores were overwhelmed with the number of people coming and asking about raw milk cheeses. The cheesemakers who participated reported that they had a wonderful experience explaining their reasons for using raw milk, and that some of those customers are now more involved in supporting them. We even heard from cheese shops and cheesemakers new to the celebration that wanted to get involved in 2016. You made that happen!
Everyone is stepping up their game for the second annual appreciation day, and this year’s events are even more amazing than last year. We have collaborations between producers and retailers, meet the cheesemaker events in food co-ops, and special menu items in restaurants. Here is a complete list of events.
In addition to events in the capitals of the world — London, Sidney, Madrid, NYC, Sao Paulo — you’ll also ﬁnd ways to celebrate very close to home. Every cheese counter at Whole Foods Market will have samples of raw milk cheeses all day on April 16, plus will oﬀer specials and guest appearances from farmers. We just can’t believe the energy and passion everyone is dedicating to this global event.
The only thing missing is you. So to join in the fun, take a picture and share it with us on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. Make sure to follow, tag us, and use the HT #rawmilkcheese. Check out all the pictures and updates in real time on our website.
If you host a cocktail party or dinner at home, let us know. We will make sure the cheesemakers hear about it. They love to know who enjoys their cheese and what fun combinations you create. For tips on how to entertain, look at out latest newsletter and make sure you sign up to get our CheeseMatters Quarterly in your inbox.
Carlos Yescas, Oldways Cheese Coalition Program Director