Grilling season may be months away, but forward-thinking retailers will get a sneak peak at the sunny season's bounty at this year’s Winter Fancy Food Show. Among the specialty food providers presenting their latest and greatest for 2019, Champignon North America is gearing for the new year by debuting innovative new offerings designed to hit grills come summer.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Flynne Wiley, CEO of Champignon North America, to learn more about the company’s new line of Rougette Bonfire Grilling Cheeses—all-natural cheeses that can stand up to the heat, keep their shape on the barbecue, and might just change the way Americans think about “grilled cheese.”
“Specialty cheese is not just for the winter holidays but can be enjoyed year round and at more casual occasions. We are bringing a whole new way of enjoying specialty cheeses—around the grill!” Flynne said.
Flynne told me that Champignon’s new line includes both a mild and creamy soft-ripened cheese, which comes in two individually packed cheeses per unit, and a semi-soft cheese, marinated in herbs and oil and prepared in a convenient ready-to-grill pan.
“The mild soft-ripened cheese can go directly on the grill and becomes crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. The semi-soft cheese in the pan can be grilled and then sliced, diced or topped with vegetables to serve a crowd. Each offers a new way to cook with cheese.” she explained.
While grilling cheese has been slower to catch on stateside than in continental Europe and the U.K.—where halloumi enjoys an unparalleled place in the current cuisine—food-savvy U.S. consumers have increasingly become enamored with it—despite hurdles to getting their hands on the squeaky stuff. With its latest line, Champignon North America is working to add greater nationwide accessibility to grilling cheese and educate shoppers that halloumi is not the only kind of grilling cheese out there.
“These are packaged cheeses. They’re a little bit different than the specialty cheeses we’re typically known for—such as Cambozola—but these are also versatile cheeses that offer varied merchandising possibilities from deli walls and specialty cheese cases to summer grilling displays,” Flynne said. And Champignon is poised to get these hot new items up in retail stores early 2019. “We are set to launch in early spring in regions like Texas where grilling starts early, but our main focus will be the summer holidays like Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and Labor Day where we will be grilling up the cheeses in stores and at food fests around the U.S.”
Showgoers at the Winter Fancy Food Show, held January 13-15 at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, California, can check out these new products and a new look for Champignon North America’s booth—#1215.
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