article atelier de fromage cheese cheesemakers chiyo shibata fromagerie sen ima farm cheese factory japan japanese japanese cheese japanese cheesemakers kyodogakusha shintoku farm Latest masanori matsubara mirasaka fromage nozomu miyajima shigeo matsuoka Shop Talk yoko matsuoka yukari takashashi yuko takahashi

culture: the word in cheese

culture: the word in cheese

You’ll have by no means considered Japanese cheese, but we don't blame you. Asian nations usually are not exactly recognized forage, and you've in all probability never seen a Japanese wheel behind an area cheese counter. But give it some thought: doesn't Japan have already got many conditions for a successful cheese spot? There was a history of complicated culinary traditions and passionate fermentation. There is a tradition that’s well-known for inventions and is open to new concepts. Oh, and the Japanese literally Undetectable.

Round the world, Japanese craft cheese flies underneath the radar. At the similar time, the variety of artisanal manufacturers in Japan continues to grow. In a country that has never been thought-about a dairy vacation spot, these producers check the boundaries of cheese by circumventing European traditions to create one thing unique and completely their very own. Under are 5 cheese makers to control.

1. Mirasaka Fromage

Masanori Matsubara cheese maker and his goat.

Masanori Matsubara routinely questioned the environmental influence of milk production. As a young man, he worked a number of jobs for business dairies in the United States and Australia. These experiences made him marvel: Is it potential to supply cheese in a means that really values ​​the health of the land and the happiness of the animals?

Matsubara's quest began in France in 2004 to review cheese making. Three years later, he returned to Japan to determine Mirasaka Fromage, his own craft nation, in the rural forests of Hiroshima Prefecture.

The goats and brown Swiss cows of Mirasaka Fromage now graze freely with a mixture of pasture and partially cleared forest. Diets differ in line with the season, alternating between spring grasses and fall chestnuts.

Matsubara responds to the differences due to the season of its milk by approaching every cheese as a murals. Her spring creation Sakura Mochi (さ く ら も ち) shares an amazingly comparable Japanese dessert of the similar identify. Carre de Lavende, with lavender on it, is launched in the summer time. Lastly, Jyukushi Kaki (じ ゅ く し 柿), his washed shell autumn cheese, is made on to resemble mature fish.

Fromage de Mirasaka with rosemary

As for year-round choices, Mirasaka's award-winning Fromage de Mirasaka. is wrapped in oak leaves and produced in both goat and cow varieties. The former acquired silver at the Mondial du Fromage in 2013, while the latter took house gold at the very next Mondial du Fromage in 2015.

Matsubara's cheeses have just lately acquired appreciable attention – although his journey shouldn’t be yet over. Mirasaka Fromage continues to offer an urgent instance of what’s wanted to supply a dairy product both domestically and abroad, whereas sustaining a posh stability with nature and the seasons.

2. Fromagerie Sen

Fromagerie Sen

Chiyo Shibatas have been interested in the cheese business by microbes which might be necessary at each stage of cheese making. An informed microbiologist and artisan producer with deep understanding of small life varieties, he has turn out to be an influential follower of Japanese cheese lovers.

Shibata revealed Fromagerie Sen's Cheese House next to a standard cabin in Otaki City, an hour and a half outdoors Tokyo. The cheesemaker has sourced milk from a herd of Holstein lower than 200 meters from a neighbor's farm, and since then the cheesemaker has reoriented his efforts again to his area people. Fromagerie hosts a small market in Otaki on the first Sunday of every month. It is a festive environment that gathers totally different individuals around Chiba Prefecture. Cheeses are often bought shortly, so the crowds come early.

Chiyo Shibata

Fromagerie Sen's reputation is essentially resulting from Shibata's success in the 2016 All Japan Pure Cheese Competitors. The award-winning cheese Takesumi (竹 す み) is dusted with bamboo ash, aged on the spot and formed to resemble a tender spherical mochi. Nevertheless, Shibata has not forgotten the microorganisms which might be nonetheless working. . During the tasting, the cheesemaker presents his own bacterial cultures in petri dishes whereas emphasizing the microbiological benefits of creating uncooked milk cheeses. A supporter of native Japanese microbes, he has just lately created an exclusive label for Japanese cheeses made using native cultures. Like a few of the world's most dedicated craftsmen, Chiyo Shibata reminds us of the importance of the local microbial terroir.

3. Atelier de Fromage

Atelier's award-winning Fromage Bleu

Outdoors Japan, the Prefecture of Nagano is greatest generally known as a mountain resort with ski slopes and scorching springs. Nevertheless, increasingly land-based areas have attracted Japanese artisan cheese makers to look for prime quality pastures and pristine mountain water.

Such was the case already in 1980, when Shigeo and Yoko Matsuoka left for a profession in pure cheese manufacturing. . Nevertheless, they shortly realized that producing a high-quality brie or camembert type first meant a visit to France.

Shigeo and Yoko spent a whole yr making cheese at the Ecole Nationale d 'Industrie Laitière in France. After returning house, the duo purchased a small cheese home in Nagano and based Aageri de Fromage in 1982. From the unique production of fraage and camembert.

Nagano was one among the first artisan cheese makers in Japan to supply either Brie type or fromage frais. The choice has now expanded to over 20 totally different cheeses, lots of which may be discovered in their very own restaurant in Tokyo. As an alternative of resting on their laurels, Atelier de Fromage continues to make regular cheeses to France to broaden their information of various types.

Atelier's Fromage Bleu, impressed by French recipes, is a cow's milk blue that resembles varieties. From southern France, resembling Roquefort or Bleu de Causses. With a creamier and more intense taste than most different blue cheeses found in Japan, it has been a daily favourite at Japanese cheese competitions. It even managed to earn the Tremendous Gold event at the Mondial du Fromage in France in 2015.

Atelier de Fromage is as we speak removed from the only artisan cheese producer in Nagano. Nevertheless, the cheese maker's dedication to French tradition and award-winning blues show that the Japanese mountains supply more than snowboarding and onsen.

four. Ima Farm Cheese Manufacturing unit

Chausudake in totally different age teams

Ima Farm, situated on the volcanic, forest-covered Nasu Highlands in Tochigi Prefecture (a number of hours north of Tokyo), relies on its wholesome herds of Saanen goats, brown. cows and Holstein cows to supply unparalleled European-type cheeses. For Yuko and Yukari Takahash, producing top quality milk has all the time been a priority.

In 2002, Yuko spent one yr milk production in northern Germany. He returned to Japan inspired by age-old cheeses and European milking methods. Since then, he has visited Europe with successive objectives to broaden the farm's goat cheese range.

Ima Farm produces recent types of cow and goat, two washed shells, a number of aged goat's cheeses and one semi-hard wheel. . Each cheese is given a selected identify that corresponds to the location in the Nasu space. Japanese cheeses deserve the similar identify as many traditional European cheeses have been named for their area of origin, Yuko and Yukari declare.

Ima Farm's Chausudake (茶 臼 岳), named after the native mountain, which means "the peak of the tea crusher". resembles a French Valençaya outdoors the ash dust and with the shape of a truncated pyramid. Chausudake rose to prominence in 2018 after being invited by an invited French decide to be "Foreign Favorite" at the two-year Japan Cheese Awards.

Current success has not affected Takahashis' widespread understanding of what’s essential. In 2016, Yuko advised a reporter that "You can make bad cheese with good milk, but you can never make good cheese with bad milk." Luckily, Ima Farm's focus continues to be on the completely happy herd and its valuable milk.

5. Kyodogakusha Shintoku farm

Nozomu Miyajima in his raclette cave.

Two and a half hours east of Sapporo, on the mountainous north island of Japan, Hokkaido, the Kyodogakusha Shintoku farm sits in the shadow of a dormant volcano. Location is not any coincidence. Award-winning cheese maker Nozomu Miyajima described the success of his cheese making to a big extent in volcanic soils and naturally filtered waters.

After graduating from the College of Wisconsin with a Dairy Degree, Miyajima founded Kyodogakusha in 1989. After returning to Hokkaido, he was a 30-hectare local government, offered he offered employment to disadvantaged locals.

Kyodogakusha has since expanded to 150 hectares and is a full-fledged biodynamic farm and dairy. Drawing the attention of the Japanese craftsman to the details, Miyajima even designed a stepless, non-pumping system that permits the natural circulate of milk from the corridor to the cheese caves.


By way of a balancing board and a terroir, Miyajimahas developed a distinctive assortment of Japanese cheeses: Sakagura (酒 蔵) is washed regionally, Yachi Yanagi (ヤ チ ヤ ナ ギ) is dusted regionally with Dutch (ja ember rt), fashion, wrapped in farm-picked bamboo leaves.

The artistic inclusion of Japanese parts has earned Miyajima recognition on the world stage. Kyodogakushan Sakura, a tribute to Japan's iconic spring flower, gained gold at the 2015 Mondial du Fromage in France. The cheese wrapped in Shiso Magazine is adorned with one flavored cherry blossom. One other award winner, Kyodogakushan Raclette, brought her second residence to the 2010 World Championship Cheese Championship in Wisconsin. Miyajima claims that Raclette's distinctive nature is because of the scorching spring water used to scrub the cheese throughout ageing.

Though a perfect setting does not assure award-winning dairy merchandise, Miyajima – like many others round the world – has proven that natural awareness and artistic imaginative and prescient go hand in hand with success in the cheese business.


Malory Lane is a Japanese member of Guilde Internationale des Fromagers, creator of The Geography, a web-based useful resource. cheese, and Japan Cheese Co. founding father of the firm, which is the first exporter of artisanal Japanese cheeses to the United States. City. When he's not eating, he thinks about what to eat next. Comply with her adventures on Instagram: @ your pal.

  Molly McDonough

A senior journalist, Molly McDonough worked for cheese makers in Switzerland and the United States before finishing her Grasp's diploma in Agriculture and Food Science at Ecole Supérieure d'Agriculture in Angers, France. . After spending a yr in Romania on rural improvement tasks with Heifer International, he returned house to Boston and joined the cultural staff in 2015.

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