For the past month The Wine Source has been reveling in all cheeses domestic to celebrate American Cheese Month. From farm visits to an All-American beer & cheese tasting at the store, we have put on display some of the greatest & tastiest cheeses our country has to offer. As the month comes to an end & holidays parties go into full swing, we thought it would be interesting to dream up our ideal American cheese plate. And you’ve probably heard the saying: “Behind every great cheese stands a great cheese producer”. The cheeses on this plate are representative not just of the high quality of each cheese, but of the character & quality of the cheese makers that produce them. These cheeses demonstrate just how innovative & impressive American cheese making has become. So below you will find cheeses (and cheese producers) that we here at The Wine Source would be excited to see on our cheese plates.
Cheese #1- Spring Brook Farm’s Tarentaise
If I had to use one word to describe this cheese, it would probably be “well-rounded”- full of flavor & perfect for pairing. Tarentaise is an Alpine style cheese made in Reading, Vermont from raw cow’s milk. Very nutty with notes of toffee & a spicy finish, we know from experience that this cheese will pair well with almost anything, from beer to wine to charcuterie. And, to top it off, Spring Brook Farm is the creator of Farm for City Kids Foundation– a program that hosts urban youth at the farm to show them “activities that practice and teach sustainability”. They use their farm as an outdoor classroom, teaching city students the day to day operations of owning a farm, & reinforcing the lessons they have learned in their own classrooms.
Cheese #2- Lazy Lady Farm’s Trillium
Lady Lazy Farm is based in Westfield, Vermont, & is owned/operated by Laini Fondiller. At Lazy Lady they make a variety of goat cheeses with clever names such as “Barick Obama” & “Tomme Delay”. If you’re in the market for a cheese that will exhibit all the great qualities that goat cheese has to offer, then all you have to do is look for the yellow & red label on Lazy Lady’s cheeses. From The Thin Red Line to Bonaparte to La Petite Tomme, Lazy Lady Farm produces some of the tastiest and most well-balanced goat cheeses around. In Trillium you will find a nuanced & decadent cheese. Trillium is a small format wheel with three layers of milk; two layers of cow’s milk sandwiching a layer of goat’s milk in the center & separated by ribbons of vegetable ash. Creamy & sweet towards the rind, balanced perfectly by the cakey, tangy interior. Incredibly fresh & tangy, there is a certain perfection to each of the cheeses made by Fondiller. And what makes her operation even more impressive is that all of her delicious cheeses are made on her farm that is totally off the grid- run 100% on solar & wind power.
Cheese #3- Rogue Creamery’s Rogue River Blue
At The Wine Source we describe this cheese as “mind-expanding”. Rogue Creamery uses only certified sustainable milk to make all their cheeses, including this one which is wrapped in locally sourced grape leaves that have been soaked in pear brandy. If the description alone doesn’t make you want to try it, I don’t know what will! Creamy texture with a fruit-forward flavor and mild acidity from the brandy, this cheese is a level above most blues out there. Rogue Creamery in general is a pretty progressive & innovative company, making a line of blues as well as a line of cheddar flavored with different beers from nearby Rogue Brewery. These guys are always trying something new & exciting; I know when I see their name on product it will not disappoint.
Cheese #4- Jasper Hill’s Moses Sleeper
We love Jasper Hill at The Wine Source! The Cellars at Jasper Hill is a network of underground vaults, where cheeses from various Vermont farms are sent to age. The idea behind the Cellars was to create “a bridge between small scale production and large scale markets.” Jasper Hill helps age & market cheeses from small farmers to help get them into a national market. What impresses me most about Jasper Hill is the range of cheeses with which they work. From Cabot Clothbound to Oma to Harbison, each cheese that Jasper Hill works with has a distinct & layered personality. One of the favorites amongst our staff & our customers has got to be Moses Sleeper. Made by Jasper Hill farm, this cheese is a Camembert style cow’s milk. Buttery & mushroomy without being overwhelming, Moses Sleeper is friendly & approachable.
We hope during the month of October you were able to try some great American cheeses at The Wine Source. But remember, just because October is over does not mean we will be without a great selection of domestic products, so next time you’re in be sure to ask what great American cheeses we have.