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Update the Cheese Plate: 2013 Cheese Trends

Artisan, upstart and small batch.
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It doesn't matter if its cubed, sliced, shredded, or melted. Cheese is like the little black dress of the food world. It never really goes out of style, and there is a something for everyone.

Just the same there are also trends every year and 2013 has proven to be an interesting one. Past trends have included an introduction to variation of milk, processes, regions and flavor evoked from the effort. Cheese was poignant, interesting, old world. More recently we saw a reinvention and resurgence of old classics appearing in new, more decadent and artisan forms (though no less their timeless flavors and textures).

This time around the trends go beyond how cheese can be made to what can be done with cheese in the process that you maybe weren't expecting. Infusions at various stages of cheese making, such as adding fruit, savory herbs, spicy elements or other ingredients before the final product, are dominating the scene. Karoun Dairies is an example -- cheeses that have things like olives or tomatos mixed into the batch.

It isn't limited to food items but liquor and other liquid ingredients and flavors. Second to this is the dramatic play on traditional flavors or textures -- if it's smoked cheese, it's now super smoked or smoked with an unexpected twist. If it's blue cheese, it's the most rich, indulgent blue cheese experience you can have, served in a giant wedge instead traditional crumbles. Regions and their influences continue to be predominant.

Artisan, upstart and small batch, scratch-made and farm-to-table cheese brands are starting to emerge, and with it an incredible new market of interesting, unique and incredibly good quality and flavorful cheeses you wouldn't find in most grocery stores or supermarkets. It's particularly on the coasts in the U.S., but you'll find plenty of other entrepreneurs and new companies from places like Texas and Colorado making cheese and cheese products.

Most of the trends can be found in stores and at some restaurants throughout the country.