I adore cheese and I enjoy finding new cheeses and trying out new types. Certainly some areas in the world are known for making world famous cheeses, and of course I will talk about those in future posts.
However, to start, I wanted to stay in tune with my strong belief in supporting local farmers and artisans and want to help you discover some of the wonderful cheeses we have in our own backyard.
This list is by no means exhaustive, and books could be and probably have been written on this subject alone. However, I thought I would share a few of my favorites.
Cypress Grove Chevre
This cheeses are some of my absolute favorites and so unique and really reflect their terroir (derived from French for earth, meaning distinctly reflecting attributes from where that come).
· Humboldt Fog, a ripened goat’s cheese with a layer of ash and perfectly tangy. Quintessential chevre (Goat’s Cheese) with ash.
· Purple Haze, a fresh chevre with lavender and fennel pollen which gives this cheese a sweet flavor, still giving you the chevre tang on the finish.
Point Reyes Blue, from Northern CA (Pt. Reyes Station). This lovely blue is aged 5-6 months. It’s a tangy and sharp blue, but all finesse on the palate. www.pointreyescheese.com
Maytag Blue, from Newton, Iowa have been making blue cheese since 1941. This is a top notch blue which is cave aged with sweetness and perfect balance. You can order directly from their website. www.maytagdairyfarms.com
Fiscalini Farmstead Cheese
After returning from the UK, I really missed the amazing cheeses. I was thrilled with the grassy and earthly cheddars made all around the UK. I never thought I would find anything close until I tried the Vintage Bandage Wrapped Cheddar.
All I can say is wow! This award winning cheddar is just perfect. I would have to say this is very close to Montgomery’s Cheddar in the UK, which is one of my favorites and one of the best cheddars to be found anywhere.
Ages for 24 months and in 60 pound wheel, this is the real deal. They make many stunning cheeses, but this cheddar is on of the best the US has to offer. http://www.fiscalinicheese.com/
Carmody, from Bellwether Farms in Sonoma CA. It is a soft cheese which is mild, creamy and very buttery. Really unique and 100% hand made. Take a look at their site and try some of their other interesting cheeses. www.bellwethercheese.com
Rouge et Noir Camembert, from Marin Country CA, is the oldest cheese maker in the US, but make an amazing variety of fabulous cheeses. I am particularly fond of their Camembert, which is just outstanding. Check them out, www.marinfrenchcheese.com
Prairie Fruits Farm, IL
This is a wonderful example of a local producer making interesting and exciting cheeses.
· Little Bloom on the Prairie, is a cut curd camembert-style, with a dense creamy core and gooey exterior. It is aged close to four weeks. Taste the earthy rind and slightly tangy yet creamy interior.
· Moonglo, is a raw milk tomme-style cheese (round shape, gray brown rind) with a washed rind. In addition to ripening cultures, they wash the rind with a “tea” made from Moonglo Pear leaves. Aged for three to four months, it is slightly tangy and nutty with notes of ripe fruits and truffles.
If you are up for doing some additional research, here are a few more artisan cheese makers which produce fantastic and exciting cheeses.