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August 16, 2013

Lovera's proves to be the "big cheese"

McALESTER — Lovera’s Cheese Company plans a celebration Sept. 7 for recent national victories.

“It’s nice to be recognized for all the hard work and dedication we put into producing our cheese,” Lovera’s cheesemaker Shawn Duffy said after being asked how it feels to be at the top of the cheesemaking game.

This year’s American Cheese Society Conference and Competition was held in the cheese capitol, Madison,

Wis., and on Aug. 2, ACS announced the winners of this year’s cheese contest. 

Duffy said the competition has become known as the “Grammy” of cheesemaking. He said Lovera’s Braided Caciocavera cheese was awarded first place in the Mozzarella category.

“This cheese is a new ‘twist’ on our standard gourd-shaped hand-formed Caciocavera cheese,” Duffy said and he added the cheese is pulled into long “ropes,” then carefully braided, adding an interesting textural component

and flavor.

Also, Lovera’s Batista took the Bronze in the Pasta Filata, which is a stretched-curd, provolone, caciocavallo, scamorza category, Duffy said. Batista is a mixed-milk Caciocavallo-style cheese, made with a 50/50 blend

of Jersey cows’ milk and La Mancha goats’ milk, he said.

“This particular Batista entry was our ‘Standard Market Cave-Aged’ version,” Duffy said. “Meaning that it was aged by our friends in Chicago at the Standard Market.”  Duffy said standard market is the unprecedented victor in

the world of cheese-making in the U.S.A.

“It was the first time that a retailer, Standard Market, gained recognition for their cheese-aging work by co-winning an award with a producer,” Duffy said. “Lovera’s Cheese Company, along with the help of the Standard Market crew in Chicago, are pioneers in the world of American affinage.” Affinage is the study and practice of cheese-aging, he said.

“With our newly-constructed cheese-aging room here in Krebs, we are now doing our own affinage as well, and we look forward to sharing the fine flavors with all our friends in the months and years to come,” Duffy said.

Duffy attended the four-day conference, taking part in a series of workshops and presentations. Duffy also contributed to the “Meet the Cheesemaker” event held on Aug. 1.

He said the event featured 75 cheese companies and it allowed them the opportunity to showcase their cheeses and provide samples and information to potential retailers, distributors, fellow cheesemakers and the public.

Lovera’s won second last year at the ACS conference and competition, and has won gold internationally.

“Our Caciocavera cheese received the gold place award in the mild provolone category at the World Cheese Awards,” Duffy said. “And our Hickory Smoked Caciocavera was awarded the silver place in the smoked cheese category.”

A garden party will be held to celebrate Lovera’s recent awards on Sept. 7, from noon until dark, behind Lovera’s Grocery store in Krebs. There will be food and music. Musicians such as Aaron Lalli, Ralph Cox and Levi Parham will perform. “Lovera’s Cheese Company continues to work towards crafting the finest Italian-type cheeses in the country,” Duffy  said.

Contact MJ Brickey by email at mjbrickey@journalist.com.

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