Friday, November 13, 2009

Vegetarian Rennets

This morning I tasted 25 cheeses of the Queso de Cuadro style. The tasting went well and I applied the same technique that we used during the World Cheese Awards. Tomorrow, I will be tasting another 25 cheeses. After that tasting I will talk to all the producers to tell them the way they can improve their cheese. At this moment, I can disclose that a big issue is the use of microbial rennet, which could give an off flavour to any cheese.

Mary Quick of Quick's cheddar, mentioned to me that these microbial rennets are responsible for much of the odd textures of new cheeses. I understand that these new rennets are being introduced as an alternative to the ancient animal rennet for the growing vegetarian market. Still, before I know more about rennet chemisty and how it interacts with milk, I will not push for a specific rennet for the collective trademark for the Queso de Cuadro.

My friend Tom, who is doing a PhD and is researching on Denominations of Origin says that we should leave many things open for the producers to decide on. While I think this is true, I think that rennet is one of those things that we should requiere everyone to use the same type.

Of course the final decison will be of he producers with help from the chemists involved in this project. But I would like the rennet to be choosen based on the cheese final flavour and not just to please one or another market.

BTW: the hotel breakfast this morning included Queso de Cuadro, so that is good results from my pushiness.

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