Hello, my friends! Phew, I was really busy last week between visiting the Fancy Food Show and, for the first time, the Good Food Mercantile. If you’re not familiar with these events, they are trade shows put on by the Specialty Food Association semi-annually in San Francisco and New York City. I have visited the show maybe 4 times now, and have shared my favorites every year! Every year, new products pop up, and I get to meet lots of talented, passionate food people!
Here are the most striking formaggio finds from this year! Be ready to see these on the shelves of cheese shops near you!
Cows Creamery Avonlea
Cow, Prince Edward Island, Canada, raw, vegetarian
This delightful clothbound cheddar from Prince Edward Island is aged at least one year, and has some complex flavors evocative of apricots and walnuts. The creamery, Cows Creamery, also makes ice cream. For any Ann of Green Gables fans out there, this may be the cheese for you!
Cow, Wisconsin, USA, raw, some vegetarian cheeses
Good gouda is a special thing, especially when it’s made in the USA. Marieke Gouda is made with traditional Dutch methods, and is even sold back in Holland, in addition to the US. I particularly liked the Plain Mature cheese, aged 6-9 months, sporting notes of hazelnuts and caramel. Marieke’s won many awards for her cheeses, and after one taste of them, it’s easy to see why. They are exquisite.
Eira da Vila Serpa
Sheep, Serpa, Portugal, raw, vegetarian
Every year for the past few years, I have gotten to taste some new (to me) Portuguese cheeses. Their general bright, zippy, strong flavors have definitely won me over! This year, I discovered Serpa, from the town of Serpa in the southern part of the country. This particular wheel was made by Queijaria Eira da Vila using sheep’s milk and thistle rennet, and rubbed with paprika and olive oil, it tastes sweet, tangy, a little spicy, and FULL of flavor.
Grafton Village Cheese Bear Hill
Sheep, Vermont, USA, raw, traditional rennet
This washed-rind, alpine style cheese is aged five months to yield a silky smooth cheese with toasty nutty and fruity (maybe grape?) notes. It is rather subdued as far as alpines go. It’s really hard for me to resist alpine cheeses, and this particularly refined American iteration won me over. If you already know Grafton Village Cheese‘s cheddars, I recommend trying their other cheeses!
Tulip Tree Cheeses
Cow, Wisconsin, USA, pasteurized, Snapdragon is vegetarian, the others are not
Discovering this young creamery’s cheeses was a major highlight of the Good Food Mercantile! I fell in love with their fluffy triple cream cheese Trillium, and REALLY got attached to their washed rind, gooey Foxglove, which gets its pungent smell and flavor from a washing of Hubbard and Cravens Porter Beer by Thr3e Wise Men Brewery. Get thee some tasty, runny cheeses!
Laurel’s Crown Cheese Luck of the Irish, Jersey Girl
Cow, Washington, USA, raw, traditional rennet
Meeting Laurel and her delightful cheeses felt like running through a meadow of wildflowers. Her refreshing, sweet words and love for the jersey cow milk she uses to make her cheese were radiant! Her cheeses, colored bright yellow from the large amount of beta carotene in the milk, are not too flavorful, but all show off the unique qualities of the milk. Jersey Girl, a tome-style cheese, was mild and creamy, a great snacking cheese. The ale-washed Luck of the Irish had more of a full-flavored bite.
Blackberry Farm Hawkins Haze
Sheep, Tennessee, USA, pasteurized, traditional rennet
Thanks to the Good Food Mercantile, I was able to discover the Tennessee luxury resort called Blackberry Farm. They not only offer getaways on their 4200 acre property, they make cheese. Maker Chris Osborne showed me Hawkins Haze, a mold-ripened sheep milk cheese that offers bliss in a fluffy, cloud-like package. I loved the cheese’s gentle, creamy flavors, and I suspect you will, too.
Callie’s Pimento Cheese
You can debate with me whether or not you think pimento cheese counts as fine cheese, but I confess! I have a soft spot in my heart for soft, creamy, luscious pimento cheese! This year, I discovered Callie’s yummy, simple, filling take. Made with shredded cheddar, spices, and pimento peppers, it’ll be great for your upcoming Superbowl party! Serve with their biscuits for maximum effect.
Have you got any cheesy new year’s resolutions? Let me know! Drop me a line or leave a comment!
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