UPDATED 10/24/2014: Today, The Man and I visited Nature’s Harmony and Tim, the Owner and Cheesemaker, gave us the royal treatment – I’ll be writing about it and posting it tomorrow. In the mean time, visit my Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook Page to see pictures we took at the farm. Our thanks to Tim for sharing his farm and his passion.
In 2007 Tim and Liz Young drove off the fast lane in Atlanta (actually knowing traffic there, it was not-so-fast but you get the idea…, selling their suburban home and heading to Elberton, Georgia (about two hours northeast of Atlanta and less than a half hour from my mom and dad). Concerned about not knowing where their food came from, rather than be sensible and support a local CSA, they decided to become farmers and grow their own food. That they knew nothing about farming evidently wasn’t a deterrent in their decision… lucky for all of us cheese lovers… Their story is told by Tim in The Accidental Farmer, available from amazon by clicking on the icon at the bottom of this posting.
I used part of the larger wedge to make a small batch of Pimento Cheese (combined with Tillamook Medium Cheddar), The Pate of The South, and the rest of it to make Baked Polenta to which I added some thinly sliced (in strips) Cappicola.
The smaller wedge I paired with the remainder of the Cappicola. The Man and I enjoyed it out on the deck while we watched the local squirrels stealthily procure peanuts from the bowl on our picnic table.
Fortsonia is made using the raw milk from their Jersey herd. The cows graze outside and the beta carotene gives the cheese its wonderful daffodil yellow color (a bit more yellow than my picture reflects… sorry, I’m not a photographer; I’m a turophile).
When I opened the package, I got a whiff of sweetness and the earthiness familiar to Gruyere-style cheeses. The natural rind was thinner than Gruyere and a lovely ocher shade with no mold or blemishes; truly a gorgeous-looking cheese. But its beauty didn’t stop there. The sweet, spicy aroma persisted and I couldn’t place it; almost fruity or maybe like a sweet piquant pepper.
Aged for at least twelve months, Fortsonia is a full-flavored Alpine cheese that finishes with lots of nutty notes. The sweetness continued with the taste making it a perfect pairing with the saltier Cappicola. I added a little fig spread and our evening on the deck was perfect.
According to the Nature’s Harmony website, they make less than 15,000 pounds of cheese a year; so some of their cheeses are not always available. In addition to Fortsonia, they make Elberton Blue and Georgia Gold which was chosen as Grand Champion this past spring in the “Flavor of Georgia” competition. All three cheeses are available at Murray’s Cheese Shops inside Kroger stores in Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama.
I give Fortsonia 4 Paws (out of 4 Paws, cause that was all Spaulding had…)
Serving Suggestions: Perfect on a cheese plate and a great Melting Cheese for cooking. If I had more, I would add it to my next mac n cheese…
Wine Pairing: A medium red such as a Merlot.
Beer pairing: It’s fall; how about a Oktoberfest beer?