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The First Taste of a First-of-its-Kind Cheese

Friday, Jun 16, 2023

There’s something mesmerizing about watching a chunk of mozzarella slowly spread on top of rising dough inside a wood-fired pizza oven. Maybe it’s the contrast of the cheese melting and the dough turning crispy. Or seeing the pizzaiolo rotate the pizza with the peel to ensure an even bake. Well, on June 7th, for the first time in the world, the pizzaiolo was rotating a pizza topped with slowly melting chunks of dairy mozzarella made without cow milk.

It was a monumental evening for our small-but-mighty company. We invited a select group of culinary influencers to Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles to debut our animal-free, dairy mozzarella and celebrate our launch partnership with the legendary Nancy Silverton, award-winning baker, chef, and restaurateur (ICYMI: Read about our partnership!). Just like that, our vision of leading the global transition to an animal-free, dairy future has become reality.

It’s hard to convey the intricacies of the premier for a product that is establishing an entirely new category of food. The cheese has to be expertly made and carefully delivered from the Bay Area to LA. The ambiance and vibe just right. The menu spectacular. And of course, the right mix of guests - each eager to learn and taste - who are pushing the country’s culinary culture forward. Every detail crafted with the intention of laying the foundation to win over pizza lovers everywhere, starting with when we’re on the Pizzeria Mozza menu next year.

The Food

We knew that whatever menu Nancy and Executive Chef Herbert designed would elevate our cheese on pizza while highlighting Pizzeria Mozza’s acclaimed interpretation of Italian cuisine. The results were truly special though. It was the first time the team had ever served an animal-free cheese and, wow, did they deliver. Nancy and Herbert prepared a beautiful four-course, vegan meal showcasing the versatility and craveability of our animal-free mozzarella in classic Pizzeria Mozza dishes. From crispy arancini to melty eggplant parmesan to Mozza’s famous pizza, guests got to enjoy our cheese shredded, sliced, chunked, and baked alongside the complimentary flavors of roasted seasonal vegetables, panzanella crostini and sorbeto desert.

New Culture cheese incorporated into the entire menu - across arancini, eggplant and two pizzas

The highlight of the evening, introduced by Nancy and our co-founders, Matt and Inja, was the pizza course. Two pizzas custom-designed for the Pizzeria Mozza menu: a classic margherita and a caponata with eggplant, confit tomatoes, pickled onions and caperberries. Delizioso!

Our beautiful margherita and caponata pizzas with New Culture cheese

So our guests could have a chance to see how our cheese handles and bakes, Nancy led an interactive culinary demonstration. She showed our cheese performing just like conventional dairy - shredding, melting, browning, bubbling and all.

Chef Nancy Silverton, Executive Chef Herbert, and New Culture co-founder and CSO Inja Radman conducting a culinary demonstration of New Culture cheese

The Showcase

A really important part of the event preparation was deciding how to explain the technology that underpins our revolutionary cheese. We had to find an approachable way to educate guests on what makes our cheese so distinctive without being overly scientific (trust us, it can get complicated!).

Our “casein showcase exhibit” with a side-by-side comparison of animal-derived casein powder and our animal-free version, the groundbreaking achievement that powers our revolutionary cheese.

Enter: our lovingly-named “casein showcase.” The “exhibit” featured a side-by-side comparison of animal-derived casein powder and our animal-free version. To the eye, the two powders look extremely similar, which is how we’re able to produce an authentic cheese experience. It’s our animal-free casein that enables us to push the limits of what’s possible with animal-free dairy. However, the visual similarities of our casein and animal-derived casein are where the comparison ends. We used the showcase to communicate how much more sustainable and better for you our casein (and cheese) is. It was an extremely helpful tool to introduce the concept of bioidentical foods. We got a ton of great questions and kept hearing, “this is fascinating” and “so cool!”

The Vibe

With such an impressive array of individuals from the Los Angeles culinary community, each conversation could have lasted hours. Everyone definitely made new friends, and left well fed and feeling inspired by New Culture’s ambition and mission. It was a celebration in the truest sense - a glimpse of a food future where the dishes connecting everyone around the table don’t have to come at the expense of our planetary health or animal welfare.

What’s Next

This debut event was only the first of many for our teams. We’re thrilled to be hosting additional New Culture + Pizzeria Mozza events in Los Angeles, New York City, and San Francisco as well as menu service at Pizzeria Mozza starting in 2024. All this couldn’t have been possible, of course, without the dedication and resilience of the New Culture team. Forging an animal-free, dairy future doesn’t happen overnight and it certainly doesn’t come easy. Our vision requires a dream team that shows up every day to do the hard work, and we couldn’t be luckier to be part of that team.

The menu from our debut event, with a callout to the entire dream team on the backside.
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