Califonia Bountiful

Cheesemaker's dream becomes reality

The seeds of John Fiscalini's success were planted long before he was born.

Now internationally known for his handcrafted cheeses—which over the years have earned several world titles as the best cheese in the world and have garnered praise from celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, who called it "the finest cheese on the planet"—John Fiscalini's success didn't happen overnight. In fact, you might say that the seeds of success were planted long before he was born.

"My great-grandfather came from Switzerland in 1886 and, with my grandfather's help, in 1912 he started the farm and we've been in the dairy business ever since," John said.

When it was John's turn to take over the family farm he decided to pursue a long-time dream of his to make farmstead, raw-milk cheese that was just like his ancestors'. The dream became a reality in 2000 when John added a cheese plant to his 530 acres of land and began making traditional European cheese—two white cheddars and a hard rind cheese.

Mostly made by hand, it takes approximately one thousand gallons of milk to make the artisan cheddar. Bacteria culture and enzymes are added to help with the flavors and texture. Stacking slabs of cheese on top of one another is called the cheddaring process. From there the cheese is cut into curds, salted and packed into metal containers where, over the next 24 to 48 hours, it will be compressed into a cheese wheel.

Today John and his family continue his ancestors' long tradition of making fine hand-crafted cheeses in their state-of-the-art dairy, where cow comfort is a primary concern. Over the years the Fiscalini dairy has received national recognition not only for exceptional cheeses but for innovative ideas, extraordinary milk quality and environmental and animal welfare concern.

For more information about Fiscalini cheese, visit

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