Saying Cheese : Traveling To Italy With Sam's Club Buyers In Pursuit Of The World's Finest Gourmet Cheese

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In search of the perfect parmiagiano, Sam's Club travels to Italy to find 24 new varieties of cheese to add.

We have identified 24 cheeses that are unique, and we are searching the world for them.

Cibas, one of the premiere food shows in the world hosts exhibitors from 55 countries travel to showcase their best and most innovative food products. Among the multitudes attending this internationally-known show, were the Sam’s Club buying team, seeking out new cheese vendors that provide high-quality unique products.

“We have identified 24 cheeses that are unique, and we are searching the world for them.” stated Jim McGrath, Senior Director, Meat and Deli, Sam’s Club.

Once a cheese has been identified as a candidate for Sam’s Club, the buying team inspects the cheese maker's facilities to ensure quality, working with the supplier to find savings and cut unnecessary costs, resulting in a cheese offering that will retail at 30 - 50% less than comparable cheeses found elsewhere.

Sam’s Club expects to offer the new imported cheeses in more than 150 clubs late this fall. The additional product will include both regular and special seasonal items to complement Sam’s Club domestic cheese offering, which includes sliced deli cheese as well as hard and soft cheeses.

Do you know your cheese?

Some quick facts on Sam’s Club new cheese offerings:

Asiago Fresco

In Italian, the word Asiago means "fresh." It is also the name of a quaint village in the Northern mountainous part of Italy. The milk comes exclusively from areas of protected origin (DOP); the area of production is the north-east of Italy. Asiago Fresco is made from full-fat milk, specifically chosen from the splendid high mountain and valley pastures of the Trentino region which guarantees its quality and brings out its delicate flavor.

Provolone Stravecchio

The long-established, traditional flavor of Auricchio Stravecchio Provolone comes in three distinctive formats: Zuccotto, Affettato and Provolettone. Auricchio Stravecchio is made according to an ancient recipe that requires a very slow aging period of over a year in special rooms. Stravecchio is easy to recognize due to its brown protective coating and the pelure paper “skin” with white watermark and white Auricchio brand logo, which adds an air of distinction and authority to this true king of the table.

Mozzarella di Bufala

Buffalo mozzarella is a creamy, fresh, drawn-curd mozzarella cheese made from the milk of the water buffalo. It has an oval or spherical shape of various sizes and it is wet, shiny and pure white. The richness of buffalo milk makes it highly suitable for processing and produces high yields. The digestive system of water buffaloes permits them to turn low grade vegetation into rich milk which, due to its higher percentage of solids, provides higher levels of protein, fat and minerals than cow's milk. Like most fresh cheeses, mozzarella is used to add texture rather than a specific taste to a dish.

Kolios Barrel Aged Greek Feta

The original Feta was a sheep's milk cheese made in the Balkans, especially Greece. It is often made from a mixture of sheep's and goat's milk, or goat's and cow's milk; sometimes it is made from cow's milk alone. Imported Feta can only come from Greece. Feta has DOP protected name status.

Read more about Sam's Club Cheese

Read Lori Lange's blog at http://www.recipegirl.com about her experience touring Italy with Sam's Club during the cheese selection process. Visit http://www3.samsclub.com/NewsRoom/Press/740 to meet the cheese makers and visit one of the largest food shows in the world, Cibus in Parma, Italy.

About Sam's Club
Sam's Club is a division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. The first Sam's Club opened its doors in Midwest City, Okla., in 1983. Today, Sam's Club serves more than 47 million U.S. Members with locations nationwide, as well as in Brazil, China, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Sam's Club saves its members on average 30.4 percent over grocery and specialty retailers by offering superior values on quality merchandise and services for home or work. Saving is made simple at Sam's Club. Visit samsclub.com for more information.

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Susan Koehler
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