California cheese legend Ig Vella dies
Ignazio "Ig" Vella, the grand old man of California's cheesemakers, has died. Vella was artisanal before the word became a cliche. His father introduced the dairy's Dry Jack before World War II, looking for a domestic alternative to Parmesan when Italian cheeses weren't available. More than 80 years later, California's artisanal dairy scene has exploded, but there still isn't a better cheese made in the state.
Photo: Ignazio Vella sits in his storage room in 2004. Credit: Jonathan Sprague