Laura Chenel kicked off 2024 with a refreshed look, including updated brand packaging that Durae Hardy, the company’s brand manager, said celebrates the company’s past and present: authentic French cheesemaking techniques, filtered through the landscape and culinary traditions of Northern California.

An evolved color scheme, brand messaging, and back-film elements have been updated to support brand recognition while also incorporating elements that emphasize the brand’s values and foundation in Sonoma, Hardy said.

When it comes to products, Laura Chenel’s newest artisan crafted goat cheese, Pear, Wine & Rosemary Fresh Goat Cheese Log, in retail specialty cases this spring, was developed in collaboration with the Culinary Institute of America Consulting.

Inspired by the taste of Sonoma’s Wine Country, Hardy said the new cheese pairs the flavor of a fresh, creamy goat cheese with sweet and earthy ripe pears and the aroma of a bright Sauvignon Blanc and finishes with an herbaceous burst of fresh rosemary.

Laura Chenel’s top seller remains what Hardy calls the company’s “most simple, yet extraordinary” Original Log.

Laura Chenel molds its fresh goat cheese in the French tradition, she said – slightly dense logs that maximize freshness and versatility.

The company’s 8-ounce Original Log is made in the traditional French elongated shape and has a creamy texture at room temperature or baked. Famous for its rich-tasting and bright citrusy tang, the flavors are enhanced due to a balanced amount of salt.

Unique flavors have been the dominant trend in the specialty cheese category, Hardy said.

“It’s a priority of ours to continue innovating and introducing distinctive flavor profiles, while still maintaining its appeal with the same exceptional products and ethical standards that have made our goat cheese an industry icon.”

Laura Chenel California Chèvre, as it was known back in the late 1970s, the company’s early days, popularized goat cheese and heralded a new wave of specialty cheesemakers in America, Hardy said.

As the only domestic artisan cheesemaker selling French-style goat cheese at that time, Laura Chenel’s growth coincided with the evolution of California wine and cuisine and profoundly influenced cheesemaking in America.

“As demand and preference for goat cheese continues to grow today, we continue to produce high-quality handcrafted fresh goat cheese in America,” Hardy said.

Laura Chenel’s roots are in traditional French goat cheesemaking, but the producer loves to bring those techniques to modern consumers, Hardy said, with a “very Californian approach” based on fresh flavor combinations.

“Our brand got its start serving chefs, but as we’ve evolved, we’ve expanded our range to serve not only chefs but also consumers with a variety of cheeses that suit a range of occasions from appetizers to home cooking and snacking.”

Cracker Barrel adds to artisan line

Cracker Barrel Cheese has added two new flavors to its line of premium artisan cheeses.

Truffle Cheddar and Dill Havarti will complement Cracker Barrel’s robust and award-winning lineup of over 17 delicious flavors, available in a wide variety of cooking and snacking formats, according to the company.

Both new varieties are now available in block format at ShopRite, Giant Foods, Meijer and other select retailers nationwide.

“In celebration of the spring season, we’re excited to unveil our latest artisan flavors, enriching Cracker Barrel Cheese’s already diverse portfolio,” said Amanda Vaal, brand director at Cracker Barrel Cheese. “Truffle is a beloved flavor that provides decadent luxury; combining with our rich and bold White Cheddar delivers the best of both worlds. Dill also continues to be high in demand, delivering a sharp and savory twist to a snacking classic. These additions not only meet the desires of our consumers but also satisfy the craving for an enhanced cheese and snacking experience.” Truffle Cheddar pairs the brand’s smooth and creamy White Cheddar cheese with the earthy, robust taste of truffle to create a perfectly balanced flavor, Vaal said.

Dill Havarti combines Cracker Barrel Cheese’s mild and buttery Havarti cheese with the distinct, herbal taste of dill to deliver “a perfectly blended snacking experience,” she said.

Cracker Barrel Cheese’s artisan cheeses make the perfect addition to everyday snacking and charcuterie boards, pairing well with red grapes, prosciutto and more, Vaal added. The flavors also complement exclusive Cracker Barrel recipes like a dill pickle pasta salad, truffle macaroni and cheese or a kale and apple salad with truffle cheese.

“At Cracker Barrel Cheese, we’re dedicated to delivering rich and bold flavors that bring people together, whether it’s through everyday snacking or those special occasions where impressions matter most,” said Mallory Loeffler, brand manager. “As the appetite for innovative flavor combinations continues to rise, we can’t wait for Cracker Barrel fans and cheese lovers alike to experience our new artisan flavors, promising an elevated snacking experience that exceeds expectations.”

Cracker Barrel’s new flavors join an extensive collection of cheese varieties including Sharp Yellow, Extra Sharp White Cheddar, Asiago, Gouda, Mixed Reserve and more.

Schuman artisan cheese wins laurels

Schuman’s Cello Artisan Asiago won a third place award at the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association’s annual competition.

Cello Artisan Asiago was one of several Schuman cheeses to take home an award.

Cello Copper Kettle Parmesan took first place in the parmesan class and was named one of the top 20 cheeses overall.

Cello Asiago and Cello Asiago Black Pepper & Garlic Rubbed Fontal, meanwhile, also earned first placed awards. Second-place awards went to Aged Cello Copper Kettle Parmesan and Cello Black Pepper & Garlic Rubbed Asiago, and Cello Smoky Pepper Rubbed Fontal joined Cello Artisan Asiago in third place.

This article is an excerpt from the May 2024 issue of Supermarket Perimeter. You can read the entire Artisan Cheese feature and more in the digital edition here.