Wisconsin’s leading cheese blogger, Jeanne Carpenter of Cheese Underground, heads to the Sonoma Valley Cheese Conference in California, where she files a thoughtful post on the idea of terroir, legislatively designated “place-based foods,” and cheese.

Vermont, which lacks the geography to host big, confined dairy operations and has a strong tradition of artisan cheesemaking, might be a natural starting point for an American incarnation of the French AOC designation (Appellation d’origine contrôlée), she argues. Whether the United States should aggressively go the European route of protecting particular names and products based on geography is very much an open question, and exploring it from a local cheese perspective seems to be a fruitful place to start.

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