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California cheese legend Ig Vella dies

June 16, 2011 |  4:17 pm


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.


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Jambon beurre

--Russ Parsons

Photo: Ignazio Vella sits in his storage room in 2004. Credit: Jonathan Sprague