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August 19th, 2008

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10:09 am - ACS 2008: favorite new cheese
Finally, my favorite new (to me) cheeses that I tasted at this year’s American Cheese Society conference… remember these aren’t necessarily my all time favorite American cheeses, just ones that either I hadn’t tried before or that were much better this year then ever before.

But first a picture of the cheese that is probably my favorite US-made cheese. Jasper Hill Winnimere. I just can’t get enough. I just want to dive in and submerge myself in the smoky cheese stink!

I would say that the washed-rind cheeses* were the ones that really stood out. As a group they were tremendously improved from even last year. I would buy almost anything that was out there at the Festival of Cheese.**

In no particular order:

1. Sweet Grass Dairy Titan. I’ve love the Sweet Grass folks and their grass-fed cheeses (Green Hill, Thomasville Tomme etc.) for awhile but this washed rind one hit some new heights for them. Check it out if you can find it, I think it is in very short supply these days.

2. Pasture Pride goat cheeses. We’ve carried their 40# lb. cheddar and I always loved the name, quite possibly because we have “Cheese Pride” buttons for our cheese department. I had no idea they were making awesome aged goat cheeses though.

3. Prairie Fruits. At an event like this it can be hard for some cheeses to stand out. Washed-rinds and aged cheeses tend to be more memorable once you’ve tried 50 other cheeses. However, Prairie Fruits soft-ripened cheeses were nearly perfect. They don’t get out my way so I hadn’t heard of ‘em before but if you’re around Illinois, go get some.

4. It seemed like every time I tasted a cheese and went “wow” I’d look at the sign and it would be from Vermont cheesemakers Consider Bardwell Farm. So, if you can find it, do more than consider it, ok?

5. Hendricks Farm Telford Reserve We’ve carried their “Cow Pie” but this aged farmhouse cheddar is so flavorfull it verged on too much. Verged, mind you, it veered back at the last possible moment. Fruity, earthy. and a little intense in how the flavor explodes in your mouth.

6. Blackberry Farm Trefoil My notes were a casualty (the only one, I am a professional, believe it or not) of someone’s spilled beer during our room party but I guarantee it was good because it had lots of exclamation marks. Here’s what I can read: “ … awesome(sic)…!! … eep ? BIG …ar…mmmmm! Wh… re … ple? !!!” I can’t think of a better recommendation

7. Redwood Hill Kefir Goat kefir from Sebastopol! New!

8. Have I mentioned how awesome the Bellwether Sheep Yogurt is recently? It is quite possibly the awesomest yogurt made in this country.

9. Carr Valley Snow White won best of show. It’s a traditional (bandage-wrapped) cheddar made of goat milk. I have a little piece in my fridge that I smuggled back home.

10. Hidden Springs Their cheese is so great that I went and visited after the conference. Sheep pics are coming!

Cheese Bear says, “Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.”

*washed rind cheeses are, like the name implies, washed with something, usually salt, sometimes booze, that creates a good environment for certain bacteria. It’s why those cheeses tend to be more stinky and pungent. Examples are Taleggio, Pont Leveque, Livarot, Munster d’Alsace, and this Winnimere. Mmmmmmmmmm.

**Festival of Cheese is when all the cheese that professional cheesemakers send is put out in a huge, fancy hall for all of us to gorge on. Over 1000 cheeses from all over the US and Canada.
Current Music: King City

(12 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:August 19th, 2008 05:35 pm (UTC)

How Do I rate?

You only left my head?
Must I wear a cheese head to be in your photo?
See you soon!
[User Picture]
Date:August 20th, 2008 01:44 pm (UTC)

Re: How Do I rate?

ha. I have one of you AND the bear too.
[User Picture]
Date:August 19th, 2008 05:59 pm (UTC)
psst, "snow white" *wink*

mmm smoky. yes. my third time back for that and the rounds had nearly been wiped clean... just a couple little pools that i sopped up hehe.

next time i need to take notes while i'm on the floor and not wait til after... either that or have a digital recorder.
[User Picture]
Date:August 19th, 2008 06:30 pm (UTC)
Sid makes so many cheeses, who can keep track?
[User Picture]
Date:August 19th, 2008 11:00 pm (UTC)
I have a wheel of Snow White waiting for me tomorrow when I get to work. I told them not to touch it until I get there!!
[User Picture]
Date:August 20th, 2008 01:44 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:August 19th, 2008 11:16 pm (UTC)

Love me some Sweet Grass. How awesome is it that I can buy it at my local grocery store? Very awesome. (Believe it or not, Gainesville is home to one of the what, approximately 6 remaining independent non-specialty grocery stores in the country: http://www.afn.org/~afn10853/wards.htm. That website looks like it's from about 1998, huh?)
[User Picture]
Date:August 20th, 2008 01:46 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I just scolded Sweet Grass for not listing us on their webpage. Haha.

Grocery webpages are overrated unless one does online ordering. But that one is classic.
[User Picture]
Date:August 19th, 2008 11:57 pm (UTC)
What was that soft cheese that you gave us? I tried it melted over pasta. It was pretty good!

Date:August 19th, 2008 11:57 pm (UTC)
Must go to cheese shop and demand samples!
[User Picture]
Date:August 20th, 2008 01:33 am (UTC)
goat kefir. what. yum.
i like cheese of the goat creature.
is it true that it is much more stinky/potent
in other lands than it is domestically?

do tell.
[User Picture]
Date:August 21st, 2008 03:45 pm (UTC)
I have just read a list of the most terrifying foods in the world, and I need you to tell me #5 isn't true. Say it isn't so, Gordon!

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