I was shopping for some cheese yesterday in my local cheese shop in austin, and was somewhat surprised by the bump in prices over the last year (last time I went cheese shopping was about a year ago). Most of the artisanal cheeses were well above $25 a pound, and it seemed like some of the most expensive were american cheeses, with rouge river blue topping out at an incredible (to me) $43/lb!
When I went to switzerland last year, I was able to procure high quality cheese (top notch guyere, alpenzeller and engelberg cheeses) for less than half the prices I'm seeing for good cheese stateside. I can somewhat understand european cheeses being expensive stateside(gotta pay shipping /import taxes,storage, etc.).But then why are american artisanal cheeses equally (or often significantly more) expensive, even though they shouldn't suffer similar costs? Switzerland is atleast as expensive as the US, so I'm having a tough time believing it costs a lot more to make cheese here than europe. Is it just a case of the cheesemongers/cheese producers charging what the market is willing to pay? Or am I missing something?