Hooked On Cheese: The Impact Of A SOFI Award
by Raymond Hook, The Daily Meal
Posted: 2018-01-29 15:14:56 EST

The SOFI Awards are some of the most coveted honors in the specialty food business. Gold, Silver, and Bronze sofis are given for "Specialty Outstanding Food Innovation," and the prestige that comes with these accolades has the potential to significantly alter the course for an artisan producer. We interviewed one such honoree, cheesemaker Jeremy Little of Sweet Grass Dairy, whose Thomasville Tomme won SOFI Gold in 2017.

Little has always been a passionate, educated cheesemaker whose goal to improve his cheese is rooted in satisfying his own intrinsic drive. This year, his Asher Blue has been awarded a silver medal at the World Cheese Awards in Europe, and his Thomasville Tomme just won a Good Food Award in addition to the SOFI. While each prize is just an added bonus to the true satisfaction of making extraordinary cheese, Little recognizes that the SOFI has an tremendous effect on his business. Raymond spoke to him about winning this award and how he keeps grounded as his cheesemaking evolves.

Raymond Hook: As a cheesemaker, what did the SOFI win mean to you?
Jeremy Little: It was incredible. It took a few days to sink in, to be honest. The best part for me was that the batch we sent for judging was an updated version after my courses at Academie Opus Caseus with Sue Sturman [in France] and Sterling College [in Vermont]. I put a lot of effort into tweaking the flavor profile and natural rind development. The award was a direct reflection of the changes I put into the recipe, so I could not have been prouder.

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