Grafton, Vt., Ruth Anne Flore, CEO of Grafton Village Cheese, announced today that Mariano Gonzalez is joining Grafton Village Cheese Company, a subsidiary of The Windham Foundation, effective February 1, 2019.
As Head Cheesemaker, Gonzalez will supervise all aspects of cheesemaking at Grafton Village Cheese, including production, development, aging, and procurement.
Gonzalez is an award-winning cheesemaker and cheddar cheese specialist who has been developing his skills for over 30 years. As a young child in his native Paraguay, he remembers helping his uncle make Queso Paraguay, a traditional fresh cheese of that country. In 1987, Gonzalez married his wife Meg and moved to her home in Shelburne, Vermont, where he learned to make traditional cheddar cheese by hand at Shelburne Farms. During his tenure at Shelburne Farms, the cheese won Best Cheddar and Best in Show at the American Cheese Society. It was also during this time that Gonzalez began developing a traditional clothbound English style cheddar, his dream cheese. In 2001, he moved to California’s Central Valley to become head cheesemaker at Fiscalini Cheese Company. With Fiscalini, Gonzalez developed the company’s bandage-wrapped cheddar, which won Best Cheddar at the prestigious World Cheese Awards in England in 2007, 2011 and 2014. Other signature award-winning cheeses developed under his guidance include San Joaquin Gold, a semi-hard aged cow’s milk cheese and Lionza, an alpine-style cheese that most recently won the coveted sofi Award from the Specialty Food Association in New York and Super Gold at the World Cheese Awards.
Gonzalez is a frequent participant in educational panels and industry workshops and is a member of the American Cheese Society and California Artisan Cheese Guild. He has also worked for USAID as part of their Farmer to Farmer program, helping develop the cheese industry in Central and South America.
When not making cheese, Mariano enjoys spending time with his wife, two adult daughters and their three dogs. They will reside in Grafton.
About Grafton Village Cheese
Grafton Village Cheese of Grafton, Vt., was founded in 1892 as the Grafton Cooperative Cheese Company, which converted surplus milk from local dairy farmers into cheese. Today, Grafton Cheese aged cheddar and specialty cheeses are made using traditional methods and are recognized for quality and taste. Their cheeses can be found nationwide at specialty grocers and cheese markets, at its specialty cheese and wine shop in Brattleboro, Vt., and at MurraysCheese.com.
About the Windham Foundation
Headquartered in Grafton, Vermont, the Windham Foundation is an operating foundation engaged in philanthropic, charitable and educational activities. Since its inception in 1963, its mission is to promote the vitality of Grafton and Vermont’s rural communities through its philanthropic and educational programs and its subsidiaries, The Grafton Village Cheese Company and The Grafton Inn, whose operations contribute to these endeavors.