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Happy Monday, everyone! I spent yesterday afternoon trying to make mozzarella cheese, and failed. I got so close, though. The curd was ALMOST stretchy, but not really. Whyyyy? I wish I knew!! I followed my recipe exactly! If anything, it reminded me of how difficult it is to make exceptional cheese. Speaking of exceptional cheese, I wanted to share one with you today.
You might remember my love for Grayson, made by the Feete family at Meadow Creek Dairy in southwest Virginia. As it turns out, the Feetes make another raw milk cheese called Appalachian. I like to think of it as Grayson’s fashionable sister.
Like Grayson, Appalachian is made in square wheels, but that’s where similarities end. Appalachian was the first cheese the Feete family ever made, and has always been intended to show off the milk quality of the farm’s grass-fed, pastured cows. The wheels are about 9 lb. squares, happy packages of deliciousness. Appalachian’s rind is a striking, mottled brown and white cloak of molds, with fine striations throughout, maybe from the paper it’s wrapped in. The paste is springy and buttery yellow, with small eyes dotted throughout.
Taking a whiff of it, I feel like I’m transported to the hills of Virginia—it smells like barn and fresh buttermilk biscuits all at the same time. Tasting the cheese confirms the nose. This particular wheel tasted to me like buttermilk biscuits, including a creamy tang toward the end. The rind adds some extra bite and grassy flavor. I felt like dolloping on some jam, so I found Oakland’s own Blue Chair Jam lemon marmalade with cardamom. It went so perfectly with the cheese, bringing out a citrus quality in the Appalachian.
The Feete family’s operation is one I’ve admired the more I’ve learned about it. They birth and raise their Jersey cows on pasture, and regularly rotate the animals’ grazing ground to allow for the land to recuperate. They are herbicide- and pesticide-free as well. The Feetes’ excellent quality cheese has not gone unnoticed! They’ve met so much success, I received word from Kat Feete herself that they’re building two new cellars to expand cheese production!
Have you had Appalachian? Do you have mozzarella-making tips?? Please, let me know!! You can always email me at vero [at] misscheesemonger [dot] com, or find me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest