In the mountains of Gunma Prefecture, an hour on the bullet train northwest of Tokyo, is a Brazilian cheesemaker named Vilmar. Even though he had experience making cheese in his home country, he immigrated as a carpenter. While living in japan, he often made cheese at home and shared with friends. With consistent positive feedback, Vilmar decided to make cheese for a living.
In 2002, with growing popularity, he started his first cheese factory in Toyama. As demand increased, it become challenging to find enough quality milk. Vilmar moved his cheesemaking business to Gunma Prefecture where he could concentrate on quality and flavor with only the best milk. He chose Matsui Ranch in Ota City, Gunma because of the quality of their milk as well as their breeding and feeding practices. Happy cows grazing freely was a recognized link to quality cheese.
Vilmar wanted to make a cheese that would appeal to Japanese palettes, so he reduced the salinity and improved the mouth feel his cheese called “minas”. He sells his cheese from his food truck at the Aoyama Farmer’s Market in front of the UN University in Tokyo and takes order through his website. He also grills the fresh cheese, making a delicious farmer’s market snack. Alongside “minas” are small cheesecakes, creamcheese, cheese gnocchi, cheese bread and cream caramel. Each is rich and full of flavor.
In the mountains of Gunma Prefecture, an hour on the bullet train northwest of Tokyo, a Brazilian cheesemaker named Vilmar brought “minas” to Japan.