Originally Posted by buckytom
just as a contrary pov, you strike out sometimes going artisnal.
That suggests a point worth remembering. While "artisan" means means one who produces in limited quantities using traditional methods, "artisanal" has no legal definition. Anyone can use the word. Dominos offered "artisanal" pizza. Wendy's "artisan" sandwich. Lays. It's like grocery stores climbing on board the "local" train. They all want to talk about their "local" products, but their definition of "local" may take you three states away.
Artisanal legitimately means it's not mass produced, and it implies it's made with the plain basic ingredients. Artisanal bread is made with flour, water, yeast, and salt. Doesn't mean it can't have anything else in it, but nothing that's not REQUIRED to make the essential product. It's real hard to pin down where the line is, but it's safe to say that an artisanal maker doesn't need a vast warehouse. Being so large that you NEED a warehouse is largely the reason mass producers use non-traditional ingredients.
There's a cheese stocked in my grocery with "Artisan" prominent on the label and priced up with the "good" cheeases. Most dreary, tasteless excuse for cheese in the place. Kraft is genuinely better. So, all that we can legitimately use to qualify a cheesemaker as artisanal is what they put into the cheese. Whether they're any good at it is another matter. Most cheeses aren't technically complicated. We have to cast around until we find one we like. You don't have to wonder much about mass producers. By necessity, they all shoot for mediocrity, so as to have some tolerable appeal to the most people. And that's why we care about artisanal cheeses. We're not so worried about the single mold inhibitor that Kraft uses in additional to traditional ingredients. We're concerned with taste. And that absolutely means that not every person will like cheese by every maker. There's a lot more variation than with bread. Most any attempt at artisanal bread will be pretty good. Even the failures won't be so bad.
And we have to remember that "artisanal" implies no preservatives and no alteration of methods to sacrifice taste for longevity. They have to be consumed and stored with that in mind. Artisanal breads won't survive a week in storage like Wonder What's In It Bread. Cheeses need correct storage, too, and a reasonable limit on how long.
The best I've found for hard cheeses is wrapped closely in parchment and then in foil. I have a large sealed bin dedicated to cheese in the refrigerator, and the wrapped cheese goes in there. Most other types don't do well under any storage conditions once opened and just need to be eaten.