As Rumiano Cheese Company’s Cheese Ball guests gathered around the cake in celebration of the company’s 100th anniversary, Baird Rumaino gave the short version of Rumiano Cheese Company’s creation story. It was 1919, and the Rumiano family lived in San Francisco and worked in the liquor and wine industry.
The ratification of the 18th amendment prohibiting the manufacture, transport, and sale of alcohol led to increased Mafia pressure and threats, so the family decamped to Willows, in Glenn County. The rest, Baird noted, forms the Rumiano Cheese Company’s history. The company still has offices in Willows, where much of their cheese distribution is centered and where the famous Dry Monterey Jack cheese is aged. The family now makes its cheeses in Crescent City.
The Rumiano cheese rounds at left formed a centerpiece sculpture. Family lore has it that the dark rind on Rumiano’s famed Dry Monterey Jack was originally a rub of bitter chocolate powder, which deterred mice from nibbling the cheese as it aged and dried.