Hello, my friends! I thought I would squeeze in an all-American cheese board blog post while it is still American Cheese Month! There are always so many wonderful new products coming out, especially in the cheese world. I thought I’d give you a sampling of just a few items to keep an eye out for, although be free and create a board that tickles your fancy!
Hand Pulled Mozzarella
Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese, California, USA
Cow, pasteurized, microbial rennet
You may be aware of Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese’s many other offerings—Toma, Bay Blue, Original Blue, gouda—but did you know they also make mozzarella? It is hand-pulled, and because of the nature of such a fresh cheese, doesn’t get shipped very far. This was actually my first time tasting it! I loved how it was a little more sour than the usual, faceless mozz. After tasting it, I used it to make this panzanella recipe, where it really shone well surrounded by fresh heirloom tomatoes, ciabatta, and so many handfuls of fresh herbs!
Boxcarr Handmade Cheese, North Carolina, USA
I’ve tried Rosie’s Robiola from Boxcarr Handmade Cheese, and loved its rich, creamy texture and lush flavors. Rocket’s Robiola is like its ash-ripened cousin. With a pale yellow paste and fluffy ashen rind, it’s a picturesque addition to the cheese board! I loved the ever-so-slightly chalky texture that turned gooey toward the more ripened edges. The flavors are refreshing and not too salty, with notes of mushroom and pine nuts. Cheesemaker Austin Genke, in a short video about the cheese, recommends cooking with it on a steak or over omelets.
Firefly Farms, Maryland, USA
Goat, pasteurized, vegetarian rennet
For some reason, I don’t put a lot of semi-soft cheeses on the blog, but here was one I had to share! I tasted Firefly Farms’ Merry Goat Round Spruce Reserve in the past, which is like a goat milk version of Vacherin Mont d’Or—gooey, spoonable, and hefty in flavor and texture. The Cabra LaMancha is more like its more casual, versatile sibling. I loved the washed rind, which gave it a little funk. Over all, though, the flavors were rather delicate and mellow with hints of mushroom. There was a little more bitterness at the finish than I would have liked, but over all, this is an easygoing crowd pleaser that should appeal to cheese novices and connoisseurs alike. M. Cheesemonger, when scrounging around for something to eat, happened upon the wedge, and ended up melting most of it over eggs with pretty good success. The cheese hardened pretty quickly, so there were no epic pull-away shot to be had.
Wm Cofield Cheesemakers, California, USA
Cow, raw, traditional rennet
There are always new creameries popping up, and I do remember hearing a while ago that Keith Adams, founder of the phenomenal Alemar Cheese in Minnesota, was starting a new cheese project in California. Well, it’s up and running now, in the form of Wm Cofield Cheesemakers in Sebastopol! After having mastered the soft-ripened cheeses of Alemar, Adams and his business partner Rob Hunter are tackling British style cheeses. Their Bodega Blue is a meant to evoke Stichelton. After learning all of this about this cheese, I can see it in the cheese! Bodega Blue is a crumbly, ultra earthy, funky blue cheese that has a touch of sweetness at the finish, like Stichelton. It paired particularly well with the chocolates on my plate, although I think it would go nicely with dessert wines, honeys, and berries, too.
Lady Edison Country Ham: I first tasted Lady Edison‘s deeply-flavored, umami-loaded, salt-laden ham at a trade show earlier this year, and was so happy to rediscover it this past season! The fat is the best part—you really get the full meat luxury experience when the ham is fatty like this! A little goes a long way with this ham, especially because it is on the salty side. Find this at your local specialty food store.
Chocolate caviar from Taste Catering: Who would have thought that a catering company would make its way to a Miss Cheesemonger cheese board? From attending a wedding planning event, I received a little tin of these chocolate caviar candies made by Taste Catering. Actually, I did enjoy their other offerings as well, as well as their attention to detail and ability to customize their menu and presentation to fit all the popular, Instagram-worthy weddings that are happening these days. If you can’t find chocolates that look like this, maybe try . . .
Savannah Honey Chocolate Bar: Savannah Bee Company was one of the first honey companies I came to love as a budding cheesemonger. They’ve partnered with a local Savannah chocolatier to offer these 72% dark chocolate squares with a honey center and 24 karat gold dusting. I think these are hard to find, so I recommend ordering online.
Fruit, Nuts, Herbs: add some crunch and some freshness to your plate in the form of grapes and berries, herbs like basil or thyme, and nuts like almonds or hazelnuts.
All cheeses came from Cheese Plus in San Francisco, and cheesemonger Waldemar Albrecht showed me what was new in the case!
Have you tried any American-made cheeses for American Cheese Month? Let me know in the comments!
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