As many of you know, I have been in Northeast Georgia for more time since last September than in the Pacific Northwest with The Man… as my favorite boss, John Jefferson, said (and meant) “Family First”. In addition to assisting my parents with aging issues, I have been able to check out the local cheese and artisan food scene, including trips to Nature’s Harmony Farm, Blue Haven Bee Company, Many Fold Farms and a tour of the Atlanta Cheese Scene with “Tour Guide”, fellow ACS CCP™, Allin Tallmadge.
The Man recently joined me in Georgia and I treated him to a cheese board of four of the cheeses I purchased during my two-day tour of Atlanta. As you might expect, he swooned… and I had trouble, as usual, getting my fair share… ahh… but I am thankful to have him here…
I bought eight wedges of cheese and chose four of those for the board: Many Fold’s Garretts Ferry, Caly Road’s Big Bloomy and two wedges purchased at Star Provisions: Appalachian from Virginia’s Meadow Creek Dairy and Chapel Hill Creamery’s Calvander.
I also bought a cup of Many Fold’s Brebis which I used in a cheesecake I made for my dad… to try to fatten him up a bit… I combined the Brebis, which added a richer complexity to both the taste and texture of the cheesecake, with equal parts of cream cheese and BelGioioso’s Mascarpone. Dad loved it; so did mom and The Man…
Now for the cheese board: First on the board was a mini round of Garretts Ferry. The date on the label was May 7th and I held it until this week, betting it would be ripe and gooey… I was right… got to get to Vegas soon… as always, I let all four cheeses sit out for about an hour before serving.
When I sliced into the Garretts Ferry, it began oozing all over the board… exactly what I hoped for and wanted. A little bit of heaven in this disk of Camembert-style cheese made from the farm’s sheep ewes milk. The milk is pasteurized and a traditional lamb rennet is used. Buttery and sheepy with a lingering tang that had me fighting The Man for my fair share… he won… but he’s worth it. We topped one of Anna’s Ginger Cookies with the silky, creamy cheese and it was a perfect start for our cheese plate.
Next up was another surface-ripened brie-style cheese: Big Bloomy, a goat milk baby handmade at Caly Road Creamery in the Atlanta suburb of Sandy Springs. More full-bodied flavor than the delicate GF, with a goaty tang; not over-powering – just enough to remind us that it came from goats’ milk. Again, we topped the ginger cookie and added a dab of Strawberry Jam. Sublime…
The third cheese was Appalachian, a raw milk cheese produced at Meadow Creek Creamery in Virginia. Meadow Creek has its own herd of Jerseys that provide the milk for their cheeses which also includes the Award-Winning Grayson. The herd lives on the pasture, never confined, and allowed to grass-feed in the meadows of the farm. Sustainable farming is combined with rotational feeding to produce these exceptional cheeses.
Appalachian is an original recipe which includes aging for a minimum of sixty days and a natural rind with a dusting of penicillium which adds a musty, mushroomy finish to the buttery flavor of the cheese with notes of lemon. The paste had a few tiny holes and a spongy texture… quite wonderful. My only regret was there wasn’t more; this would make a damn fine grilled cheese…
The final cheese on the plate was Calvander, an Asiago-style cheese made in North Carolina at Chapel Hill Creamery. This nutty, assertive cheese was the perfect end to the plate. A bit drier and more crumbly than the Appalachian, Calvander is also made with Jersey cow milk. Chapel Hill Creamery starts with healthy cows and has received certification from the Animal Welfare Approved Organization. In addition to the nuttiness, the buttery flavor made for a long finish; a result of the higher butterfat found in Jersey Cow Milk.
Both of these cheeses exhibit a bright yellow paste, again from the extra butterfat in the milk and both made with raw milk which preserves more of the flora the cows enjoy in their pastures.
All four of these cheeses receive Spaulding Gray’s 4 Paw rating… 4 Paws… cause that’s all he had…or needed… RIP, little guy.
Again, my thank to Allin for taking the time to squire me around Atlanta and introduce me to so many awesome cheesemakers and mongers…
Interviews will continue throughout 2015… sometimes, they will be “stand-alone” and sometimes they will be presented as round-table discussions with several Cheese Professionals answering the same question. Those participating includeCheesemakers, ACS CCPs™, Cheesemongers and Cheese Professionals and Experts who contribute to this Wonderful World we call “Cheese”.
List of 2015 Cheese Professionals.
List of all Cheese Professionals Bios.
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