Laura Chenel”s Chvre Announces New Sonoma Valley Facility

After 16 successful years in its historic creamery, Laura Chenel’s Chvre is raising the bar, announcing plans to build a new Sonoma Valley creamery. The new facility, scheduled to begin operation by early 2011, will allow the company to add a number of new artisan goat’s milk cheeses to the existing Laura Chenel line.

Launched in the late 1970s and one of California’s leading producers of fine goat’s milk cheese, Laura Chenel’s Chvre has been making fresh chvre and a small amount of aged cheese in the original Stornetta Dairy in the Sonoma Valley since 1993. In 2006, the pioneering artisan cheese company was purchased by the family-owned French artisan company, Laiteries H. Triballat.

“We will continue the Laura Chenel tradition of great California chvre by creating new cheeses for the evolving American palate,” said Marie Lesoudier, general manager of the company. “Along with our award-winning line of fresh cheeses, we want to build the right environment for developing new products and this new plant will give us room to innovate and be creative,” she explained. The company will continue to use goat’s milk exclusively from its 15 California and western Nevada producers, with whom Triballat has established strong, long-term relationships for ethical and sustainable practices, in conjunction with the new cheesemaking facility.

“We are invested in this community and totally committed to the quality and innovation in artisan foods for which Sonoma County is renowned,” stated Lesoudier. “Our long-term employees will be able to develop new products using their classic French cheesemaking skills and contemporary equipment.”

Hugues Triballat, chief executive officer of Laiteries H. Triballat, explained his company’s strategy: “We were thrilled when founder Laura Chenel found us the right fit as a buyer for her company. Just as French, Spanish and German winemakers look to Northern California for an important presence in their industry, we are able to offer our dedicated approach to artisan cheesemaking as an American artisan producer,” he said.

Located in Sonoma, California, Laura Chenel’s Chvre upholds a long tradition of European style artisan cheesemaking. The company uses only the fresh milk from family-raised goats in California and Nevada, an example of its commitment to local farming and craftsmanship of fine goat’s milk cheese which reflects the distinctive regional terroir.

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