Being “sort of” a Georgia Girl (having lived here much of my child/teen years and now back for the past year), Sweet Grass Dairy is a cheesemaker dear to my heart… my first introduction to Sweet Grass Dairy, however, was in 2010 at the ACS Conference in Seattle… where I got my first taste of their Thomasville Tomme. In 2012, I had the honor of interviewing their Marketing Maven, Matt Wiley, who shared more about SGD.
Recently, The Man and I vacationed on Tybee Island, southeast of Savannah, Georgia. While there we stopped in for dinner one evening at B. Matthews Eatery in the heart of the Savannah Historic Area. First we were seated at the bar because no tables were available and our waiter was also the bartender, Robert, was amazing. He recommended an excellent New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc for me and helped The Man choose the right Vodka. The hostess remembered we preferred a table and as soon as on became available she came and moved us (without us even asking… how’s that for above and beyond???… little things DO mean a lot…).
Robert remained our waiter and soon I discovered what a smart ass he was, in a cool and admiringly way… I LOVE smart asses… being one… it makes sense… It thrilled me to discover a Cheese Plate on the menu and yes… I ordered it. It featured three cheeses, all from local Sweet Grass Dairy.
The first cheese we tasted on the plate was the Thomasville Tomme, their “flagship” cheese. Previously reviewed when tasted in 2010, I found this batch even tastier: made with raw cow’s milk, the grassy flavor blends wonderfully with the buttery overtones, creating a smooth and mellow cheese. Aged at least 60 days, as required by the FDA for all raw milk cheese, this cheese develops a natural rind reminiscent of the Tommes made in the French Pyrenees. I plan to find this cheese locally and make pimento cheese using it… can you image the swooning around the manse?
The second cheese on the plate was the Asher Blue which we saved for dessert with a glass of Port. I found the flavor full-bodied and salty but the texture was a little drier than I expected. But with the port it melted on the palate and was very satisfying with an earthy aftertaste.
The last cheese on the plate was a Manchego-style cheese but I could not locate anything on the SGD website or google indicating that SGD is currently (or at anytime) making this style cheese. I have sent an email and as soon as I hear back I will update further here… the taste was more cow and lacked the lanolin or tang I would expect from a sheep milk cheese. The flavor was mild with a nutty aftertaste.
The plate included Savannah Bee Honeycomb, a mustard jam, a fig jam and dried blackberries, strawberries and apple slices. I didn’t care for the dried berries but the dried apple slices went well with the Tomme while the mustard and fig jams were terrific pairings for the Manchego-style cheese.
I give the SGD cheese plate 4 Paws – it was a perfect start…and finish to a night out in Savannah.
The next day we showed up at 1030am for brunch and the wait was 2 and 1/2 hours… we didn’t wait… so if you want breakfast a B. Matthews…be sure and get there early…
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 include Cheesemakers, ACS CCPs™,Cheesemongers and Cheese Professionals and Experts who contribute to this Wonderful World we call “Cheese”.
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