With the FDA refusing to take a lenient view of the subject of fine milk fats, fromagers are taking to the alleyways. A black market has arisen here in these United States supplying banned cheeses to deep-pocketed devotees of the craft.
“The rule in the U.S. is that you can import cheeses that are aged more than 60 days, like Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino,” Dino Borri, purchasing director for Eataly USA, told Vogue. “The FDA rule in the U.S. is that you can’t import fresh cheese that is not pasteurized.”
That basically means the delicate and ripe varieties which are unpasteurized and aged less than two months are right out. But pray, how can one enjoy a living cheese made with dead (pasteurized) milk?
“Natural bacteria in raw milk, and the other microflora present in dairy before heat treatment, lend a great deal of the flavor to the final product,” the Oldways Cheese Coalition, told Vogue. Here, here!
There are apparently three (illegal to semi-legal) ways of getting your hands on the good stuff here in the states. 1. Go to Europe with an extra suitcase and pray to whatever god you fancy all the way through customs. 2. Find a website that doesn’t mind skirting the law. Vogue claims that Fromages.com has banned cheeses. 3. Locate a kind soul with the artisan’s spirit who makes the stuff like the moonshiners of yore.
“I think there is a black market for cheeses here, but we don’t deal with any of those kinds of cheeses, of course,” Borri said. “People are coming over to the U.S. and saying, ‘I was just in Italy. I had this amazing cheese there. Why don’t you have it?’ People understand what is good and what is not, and the demand is growing for weirder, more interesting cheeses.”
So here we stand, fellow formage fanciers, asking when our people will be free.