It’s one thing to come up with a cheese recipe. It’s another to refine it to the point of rising above the rest in its category and win an award for it. But a taste of these four winners will quickly transport you to the judges’ table and demonstrate just why they got such high honors. In short, they are dazzling and, of course, delicious. Best of all, they represent the decades-long evolution of artisan cheesemaking that has made the United States the powerhouse cheese country that we are.
- Green Dirt Farm Woolly Rind: These days, the state of Missouri may be best known as the home of the 2020 Super Bowl Champions, but the Show-Me state’s Green Dirt Farm has won a few contests of its own. One of those is for this mixed sheep and cow’s milk cheese – an irresistibly earthy, mushroomy, buttery, and creamy cheese so named for the bloomy rind that both protects the cheese as well as confers some of its flavor and texture. (5.5 oz)
- Westfield Farm Classic Blue Log: Although this cheese has always been called "Classic," it took a few decades before being recognized as a true American cheese original. The artisan cheese has been made since the 1980s and along the way has won many first-place titles including "Best of Show" at the American Cheese Society’s annual competition. The goat’s milk cheese, named for its shape, is exposed to the same mold that makes a blue cheese, but unlike traditional blue cheeses, does not have internal veining. The magic of cheesemaking! The result is a slight blue cheese flavor but also the signature lemony characteristic of a fresh goat cheese. It’s almost like two cheeses in one, and the result is as stunning looking as it is tasting. (4.5 oz)
- LaClare Family Creamery Cave-Aged Chandoka: Cave-Aged Chandoka is an example of what happens when you take a really good cheese and do it one better. Or at least that’s the case when LaClare Family Farm’s head cheesemaker, Katie Hedrich Fuhrmann, decided to join forces with Standard Market to make and age the mixed-milk cheese (70% cow’s milk/30% goat’s milk) for several months. Not only was the result a multiple award winner, but the success of it inspired the Hedrich family to build their own cheese aging caves. Grassy and buttery notes define the semi-hard cheese, which is aged anywhere from eight to 18 months. (7.5 oz)
- Farm at Doe Run St. Malachi: If you like aged gouda, then you will love St. Malachi. The brown butter, nutty, faint pineapple notes and crunchy crystals that define it pretty much ensure that. Knowing that it took two years to perfect and that it’s named for the 300-year old church that overlooks the cow, sheep, and goat farm below somehow adds to the flavor and certainly the romance of this hard-to-find, spectacular cheese. (7.5 oz)
Cheese O’Clock is a four-week Zoom cheese and wine tasting of "American Cheese Society Blue-Ribbon Winners" led by cheese authorities Laura Werlin and Janet Fletcher. Different themes, cheeses and wines every time! View the other week’s cheese collections: Four States, Five Stars with Charles Krug Winery, How The West Was Won with MacRostie Winery, and Vermont Master Class with Argyle Winery.
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