Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Emails

So here is a followup to those emails I sent out to the Wine Spectator 100 Greatest cheese list, as I tryed to begin to set my vendor list of suppliers for the new cheese shop in Acadiana

The email read:

Subject: Interested in your Cheese‏
From: Dana Romero (
We recently discovered your cheese when it was listed in the “100 Great Cheeses” article in the September 30 edition of Wine Spectator magazine and would like to get a wholesale price on your cheeses for both wholesale distribution and retail sale.

Please provide us the contact information of your distributer so that we may contact them to offer your cheese to our customers. If you currently are distributing your cheese in house, please forward us you price sheet and shipping charges.

We look forward to hearing from you ASAP,

Dana A. Romero
Vendeur fromage
La fromagerie de Lafayette (Editor note: we have since changed this to d'Acadiana)
5000 Freetown Road
New Iberia, La. 70560

This email was sent between 09/28/08 and 09/29/08 to the following 53 producers or distributers:

Arhrahan Farmhouse
Beechers Cheese
Black Sheep Cheese (Old Chatham)
Bleu Mont Dairy
Blue Ledge Farm
Caseificio Gelmini
Carr Valley Cheese
Caseificio dell'Alta Langa
Cashel Blue (J&L Grubb)
Cheeseland, Inc.
Coach Farm
Colston Bassett Dairy
Consider Bardwell Farm
Crave Brothers
Cravero Cheese
Crawford Family Farm
Cypress Grove Chevre
Dutch Farmhouse Cheese
Fairbault Dairy Co.
Fiscalini Farms
Forever Cheese (Mitica)
Fromagerie Bertaut
Grafton Village Cheese
Haystack Goat Cheese
Il Forteto
Isle of Mull Cheese
Jasper Hill Farm
Latteria Perenzin
Long Clawson Dairy
Marin French Cheese
Mt. Vikos
Pholia Farm
Queserias de araia
Quickes Traditional
Rogue Creamery
Quality Cheese a Rolf Beeler Distributer
Savello USA
Seymour Dairy Products
Shelburne Farms
Sprout Creek Farm
Thistle Hill Farm
Uplands Cheese
Vella Cheese

My first response came from Emanuela Perenzin of Perenzin Latteria SNC to let me know they had forwarded my email to their distrbuter Atalanta Foods(I will be talking about distributers in another blog soon).

Then Jena Paxton, Director of Sales for Beecher's Handmade Cheese sent me a nice email and even called me the next morning.

Next came Gianaclis of Pholia farms to let me know "We are currently sold out and have a waiting list for our regular retailers (We only have 5). Due to our very low production level (200-300 pounds per month) we are not taking new retailers at this time. ..." Bummer

Maureen Reagan, Sales Manager for Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy emailed me and gave me a list of three more wholesalers.

Linda Bryson, Customer Service Rep. for Vella Cheese didn't quite know who was a distributer in my area but said I could purchase straight from them.

Giorgio Cravero sent me the name of his distributer in New York.

Billy Kevan, Dairy Manager for Colston Bassett Dairy Ltd let me know that Neal's Yard in London was the distributer of their Cheese.

Nicola Merlo of Caseificio Alta Langa gave me the name of their New Jersey Distributer.

Emily Dawes. Sales & Marketing Manager for Quickes Traditional Ltd sent me a long list of distributers.

Greg Bernhardt & Hannah Sessions of Blue Ledge Farm sent my second bummer email "We are currently winding down for the season and are not taking on any new accounts. please contact us next spring and maybe we can accomodate you. "

Andrea Bartolomeo of Coach Farm Enterprises, Inc. was excited about the mention in Wine Spectator and let me know that "We sell directly from the farm".

Shaleena Bridgham with Old Chatham Black Sheep Cheese let me know they did not have a distributer but I could buy direct.

Then I got my first sort of weird email from Donna Ziarkowski, Administrative Coordinator for Seymour Dairy Products, Inc. all it said was "here's another request. That article has proven to be quite benifical. " and I got no other information from them. Weird.

Beth Wyttenbach, Carr Valley Cheese's National Sales Manager gave me the name of my contact at Carr Valley who I would later use to find out more on their Cocoa Cardona Cheese that I have sold several pounds of so far.

Bob McCall, Sales and Marketing Manager for Cypress Grove Chevre gave my name to his distributer.

Michele Buster with Forever Cheese Gave me the shortest responce "Thank you for your inquiry. Someone will be in touch with you shortly."

Then I got my Second weird email from Chris Macfarlane of Dutch Farmhouse Cheese
"Thank you for your email. I have just had a look at the article in wine spectator and I have to say the information is far from correct. The cheese they list as L'amuse is in fact a cheese shop. and what they have as the dairy is a cheese. And the description of the cheese is so far removed from any Wilde Weide that I have ever tasted. I think they must have got their facts all in a muddle. Wilde Weide is a proper farmhouse gouda typically sold at 6 months. Young creamy and a slightly savoury finish. I don't sell to the States but I know someone who does. I will pass on your details." Wine Spectator did you check all your facts....... and look I think I found a second one .... isn't Le Chevrot a cheese not a producer of "Chabichou du Poitou"and if that is the case who is Sevre et Belle. Someone please correct me if I am wrong.

Cecile Delannes who represents Graindorge cheese sent me another long list of distributers.

Heather Fiscalini, Director Sales & Marketing for Fiscalini Cheese Company sent me a nice email and even mentioned they had just been to a food show in New Orleans.

Chiara Brandalise of Lattebusche S.c.a. wrote to tell me about a Paris food show. Wish I could go.

Debbie Crave of Crave Cheese sent another very short email "Thank you for your interest. I will put you in touch with our sales staff."

John with Thistle Hill Farm let me know that they had no current distributer but were interested in selling to me straight from the farm.

Jeff Reade with Isle of Mull Cheese sent his regards from Scotland and let me know that Neal's Yard was also his exporter.

Ernst Oettli of Gourmino AG apologized for the lateness of his response (I got it on 10/08/08) and gave me the name of their distributer in Georgia.

Meredith Hanley, Marketing Director for Sprout Creek Farm first called me then sent their price list to me.

Then I got a second leter from Debbie Crave to see if anyone from Roth Kase had contacted me yet.

Sarah Furno who had the best title "Cheese maturer" with Cashel Blue let me know that I was the one to let her know about the article "Thank you for your e-mail, I was really thrilled to receive it because at the time I had not been aware we had featured in this article. Having worked in the wine industry myself before returning home to the farm I hold the Wine Spectator in v.good regard. I have since seen the review thanks to a friend in Spain who works in wine making! How the world becomes small."

Chiara Brandalise with Lattebusche sent a followup email and forwarded my information to Atalanta.

and Finally Zatha Gray with Rogue Creamery sent me my last email responce on 10/14/08.

SO who didn't respond..

Agriform, Arhrahan Farmhouse, Bleu Mont Dairy, Caseificio Gelmini, Cheeseland, Inc., Coinga, Consider Bardwell Farm, Crawford Family Farm, Fairbault Dairy Co., Fromagerie Bertaut, fromagerie-la-tournette, Fromi, Grafton Village Cheese, Guilloteau, Il Forteto, Jasper Hill Farm, Long Clawson Dairy, Marin French Cheese, Mongorqueijo, Mt. Vikos, Onetik, Queserias de araia, Savello USA, Shelburne Farms and Uplands Cheese.

So if anyone know a contact with the above please let them know I am interested in buying their cheese.

and who have I yet to get contact information for from the list. First off would be Damar producer of Amarelo de Beira, Herve Mons who has Bleu D'Auvergne,Brillat-Savarin,Fourme D'Ambert, Gabietou, Morbier and Persille de Malzieu, a direct contact with Rolf Beeler (he has 4 cheeses on the list), Rouzaire for Brie de Nangis (I know where to get it but would like a direct contact) Papillon for Caruchon and Jean D'alos for Chaource, Montgomery's for their Cheddar. Fort Saint Antoine for Comte', Josep Cuixart for Garrotxa, Chalancey for Langres, F.W. Read and Son for their Lincolnshire Poacher, Fayette Creamery, Don Juan for Manchego, Beffroi for Mimolette, Belloc Abbey, J Carles for it's Roquefort, Tradition de Bon Fromage, Curtet, Jacquin who has three cheeses , Arrigoni Valtaleggio, Max Schmidhauser, Bellelay and finally Queserias Picos de Europe.

If anyone has contact information for the above please let me know.

Next time .... The Visit

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Inspiration

So I am shopping for cheese at Lafayette, La's Fresh Market. Low and behold I catch sight of the Sept issue of Wine Spectator and right on the cover is "100 Great Cheeses". I read thru the articles on cheese and begin to search for the cheeses in the markets cheese case. Funny, I can't seem to find but a couple of these "100 Great Cheeses".

I go to a few other local grocery and speciality shops who handle cheese but I am no where close to finding even 10 of the top 100 cheeses according to this article.

So I end up buying the mag and immediately start googling and emailing the list requesting prices or distribution info.Of the 100, now get this, I only am able to find online web sights for 54. Granted some of the cheesemakers had more than one cheese on the list but still I was thinking I should have been able to find more information about these cheeses.

But again I am back to where can I find these cheeses.....

Next week... The Emails.

The Beginning

Every story, every adventure, every day has to have a beginning. La Fromagerie d' Acadiana began with me having a crazy idea for a new cheese shop for the people of Acadiana.. Where they could come to sample, enjoy and buy the multitude of choices the fromage world can offer. Those choices that are not currently available at all, anywhere near here.

I guess the Pre-History of this idea dates back to my second foray into entrepreneurship, where I sold monthly clubs like wine of the month and candle of the month. Well one of those clubs was of course, cheese of the month. Funny but I never actually handled the cheese I let a third party vendor handle the shipping and execution of the club.

Later on as I was you can say "hiding from the world" in the small town of Hammond, La.. and wasn't in a good place at the time, failed marriage, failed business. What I did have was a close circle of good friends. One of them mentioned to me that I might want to open a shop and call it "Le Grande Fromage".

I didn't have it in me at the time to take up the cheese monger mantle but I filed it away in the back of my mind.

Since then I have meet a wonderful women and we have had a beautiful child and I had moved on in business as well working as a manager for companies such as Dollar Tree, Save-A-Lot, Babies R Us, Children's Place, Al's Formal Wear and currently Best Buy.

But the thought of going back into business for myself and being my own boss is a strong drug and I am needing a fix more and more.

So recently as I was shopping in the New Fresh Market here in Lafayette, La. I came across the cover of Wine Spectator Magazine on it was 100 Great Cheeses and as I searched I could not find even a quarter of these cheese in the area.

So the La Grande Fromage File that I had tucked away was sprung open again.

so it begins......