The Mystery of Microbial Mixes

As I reported to the Guild last year, there is a lab at Harvard that is taking an unprecedented look into the microbial communities that make up the rind on aging cheese and they are finding astonishing interactions as well as residents that all help to create the local identity of our local foods. Now Dr. Rachel Dutton, a Bauer fellow at the FAS Center of Systems Biology, has piqued the interest of many gastronomists by studying the cheese rinds at The Cellers At Jasper Hill’s aging caves, and then opening up her appreciation of microbiological societies to look at other food fermentation processes like sourdough and yogurt. Her efforts have now been noticed by the New York Times Dining Pages quoting chefs that believe she is unlocking the mysteries of what makes the taste of place — what is terroir.

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