WTF (what the fromage) is… artisan cheese?

Cheese… artisan cheese… farmhouse cheese… what does it all mean, Fetaccompli?

As I’m sure I’ve said before, I love to eat. I dare say that you do too. We’re tremendously lucky in life to be able to say that food isn’t just about eating, it’s about joy, togetherness and for me – sharing the eating experience with those that I care most about.

It isn’t down to something being fancy, or even expensive. What does matter is that it’s authentic, real, and even better if there’s a story behind it.

Artisan cheese is our connection with real food. Very simply, it is the culmination of thousands of years worth of heritage and knowledge, literally in the hands of skilled cheesemakers – their passion, their art, their opus. Technically, cheese qualifies as artisan even if the milk is from an outside source or location – contrasted with farmhouse cheese, which is made from milk sourced from on the very same farm.

Choose your own adventure

While learning with the Academy of Cheese, I’ve been reminded why I never chose a career in biology or chemistry. Yet, for those cheesemakers all over the world who are providing us with this amazing produce – they have to take it all in their stride.

Yes, technology makes things easier – but like all technology, only in the right hands. The myriad of variables from what you feed your animals, to where they graze, to the humidity – even the proximity to the sea(!) – all affect your key ingredient, milk.

Every step is another in the direction of something delicious. Or, potentially, for disaster. It is, absolutely, a choose your own adventure in edible form!

Changes in temperature, storage challenges, maturing, turning, cleaning – making cheese isn’t something to be undertaken lightly. True masters of their craft, true artisans, are the ones who show us the way. Small batches are the order of the day, cult classics – and thankfully, in many cases, best-sellers too.


We are taking the time to reconnect with many of the things that really matter in life, not least when it comes to food and drink. We are social creatures who have evolved in part, by telling stories. Looking at what we are eating and drinking, it feels like we are evolving again here too.

So while we may not always have known it, we do know what artisan means, and what artisan cheese is. Hopefully this article clears it up – and you can now explain WTF (what the fromage)… is artisan cheese.