In Their Words: The Cheese Guy
IN THEIR WORDS
The Cheese Guy
By Brent Delman
I have been in the gourmet food business for nearly 20 years, and have always had a passion for fine cheeses. Having grown up in the Midwest, I also gained an appreciation for small, family-owned dairy farms. Raised in a non-kosher home, I knew what the kosher consumer was missing, and I firmly believe that food should not be an obstacle in anyone’s spiritual path.
Therefore, I founded “The Cheese Guy” – dedicated to the production and distribution of high-end, artisanal, natural, kosher cheeses, primarily from small U.S. creameries.
Our Gouda, Parmesan Reggianito (from Argentina), reduced-fat Swiss, Blue, Italian specialties including Bastardo del Grappa and Pecorino Romano, and Vermont Bloom™, are hard-to-come-by cheeses that have exceeded the expectations of our fans. Indeed, providing kosher consumers with a wide variety of cheeses not typically available is incredibly rewarding, yet it is not without its challenges.
I have personally visited each farm across the U.S. and abroad from which we source our products. The cheeses are usually hand-made in small batches, and I sample each one to ensure they will meet the needs of the refined kosher palate.
In the case of a Chalav Yisrael product, the milk must be supervised from the time the animal is milked until the time of production. Interestingly enough, the concept of this age-old custom is becoming universalized in a movement called Traceability, which has already been made a legal requirement in some parts of the world, such as the European Union. My Pecorino Romano is made on the island of Sardinia and is a certified DOP cheese – meaning the origin and production methods of this particular cheese are authentic and are produced with milk from the specific animal breed and region. This cheese offers the ultimate in traceability as someone is constantly watching and knowing where the milk and then the cheese is – “From Farm to Fork.”
The production of kosher cheese, in accordance with Jewish law, requires extensive cleaning, boiling, and sanitization of the cheese-making equipment, vats, and utensils. We submit detailed specifications on all of our cheeses from our dairy farms to the OU for review. Our primary cutting facility, which is not OU-certified, must comply with OU standards, and so on-site inspection and supervision is required for every production run. There is also the cost of holograms and maintaining kosher certification.
Partnering with the OU has been a very fruitful experience. I am fortunate to have worked closely with Rabbi Avrohom Gordimer, who has served as a referral to new suppliers and production facilities, has assisted in finding local rabbis, and from whom I have deepened my knowledge of Kashrut (Jewish law as it pertains to food).
My thousands of loyal customers in the New York metropolitan area and beyond are pleased to have access to high-quality, unique cheeses that they can buy with confidence given the OU symbol of approval.