Class of 2021
For Clara Diez, cheese is about much more than curdled milk. It is a lifestyle, a culture and a way to create a new industry standard that makes the planet better. Her project with her husband Adrián, Formaje, embraces the cultural value of cheese craftsmanship and facilitates access to its consumption for the wider public. Clara jokes that she’s a “cheese activist”, but the impact of Formaje has been revolutionary in raising the standard for traditional cheesemaking and immersing the customer in the culture that surrounds it.
Clara studied communications in her native Spain as well as the UK and understands the crucial value of sharing her knowledge about cheese culture, from fermentation to farming. Formaje’s physical home in a gallery-like shop in Madrid is where she amplifies the cultural value of artisanal cheese through talks and events. Here, she also selects and sells a selection of cheeses that carry the banner for best practices in craftsmanship, from the quality of the milk to livestock feeding methods and the environmental impact of the production process.
The project’s second home is online, where through an online shop and a blog penned by Clara herself, she is building a community around artisanal cheese and giving a voice to its players, from farmers to historians and scientists. Her work is intersectional, with the gamechanging producer finding new connections between cheese, art, design and fashion. In 2020, she collaborated with designer Emily Levine on an elegant limited-edition bag inspired by the traditional use of muslin fabric to wrap cheese during ripening.
“In order to see a real change in this sector, it's important to decontextualize the product and enrich it from completely unrelated perspectives that enhance its value.” – Clara Diez
Images: Justino Diez