For cheesemaker Chiyo Shibata, good things come in microscopic packages.

"'Terroir' means the taste of place. But in Japan, cheese is a foreign product," Shibata says. “Most Japanese cheesemakers import their bacteria from overseas and use a process from overseas. But if we can use our own bacteria with a unique method, we can make a distinctly Japanese cheese with its own special taste.”

Shibata, a trained microbiologist and owner of the cheesery Fromage Sen, believes these domestic microbes are essential for her award-winning cheeses.