It’s a good thing that cheesemaking was designated as "women’s work" a couple of centuries ago. It set the stage for some of America’s best cheesemakers today. We celebrate four of those cheesemakers and their exceptional cheeses in this very special American cheese collection
Capriole Wabash Cannonball: This 3-ounce round of creamy goodness from Indiana’s Capriole has been around since 1992. Like all the Capriole cheeses created by American cheesemaking pioneer Judy Schad, this cheese remains one of the best loved of America's goat cheeses. Dusted with ash, Wabash Cannonball starts out thin-skinned, white, and slightly wrinkled. At 3 weeks, the rind becomes more deeply wrinkled and the ash begins to appear more prominently. The paste becomes denser, and at 3 to 5 weeks becomes drier and crumblier. Great in all of its stages, this is a perennial favorite.
Marieke Gouda: This award-winning 9-month aged raw milk Gouda is a dependable crowd favorite. Licensed cheesemaker Marieke Penterman and her team handcraft traditional Dutch Goudas in Thorp, Wisconsin, using the Old World cheesemaking methods Marieke brought with her when she emigrated from the Netherlands. To make this exceptional cheese, she transforms cow’s milk from her family farm into approximately 18-pound wheels. These are then carefully cured on imported Dutch pine planks in temperature and humidity-controlled aging cellars. The resulting cheese has nutty and faint caramel flavors while the texture has a few crunchy protein crystals scattered throughout. Enjoy it with dark chocolate, fresh bread, honey, merlot, or a pint of stout beer.
Shepherd’s Way Friesago: Begun in Nerstrand, Minnesota, in 1994, Shepherd’s Way Farms has become one of the most admired sheep cheese operations in the country. The family operation consists of Steven Read, who manages the sheep and the dairy, and his wife, Jodi Ohlsen Read, who is the cheesemaker. Their four sons grew up working the farm as well. Friesago was Jodi’s first cheese out of the gate in 1998. Her idea was to create an Asiago-like cheese from their sheep’s milk – a novel idea to be sure. Since those early days, Friesago has evolved into a real beauty – its thin natural rind encases the ivory-colored paste, and the flavors are mild, nutty, grassy, and savory. The cheese’s inherent beauty makes it a natural table cheese at any time of day or night.
Meadow Creek Dairy Grayson: Inspired by the cheeses Meadow Creek Dairy co-owner Helen Feete enjoyed on a trip to Wales and Ireland, this orange-hued beauty is the result. Christened Grayson, a nod to the Virginia county in which Helen and her dairy-farmer husband, Rick, live, the cheese is made with the raw milk from their herd of pastured Jersey cows. Soft yet also dense and fudgy, Grayson is rich and beefy with grassy and nutty overtones. Its complexity and bold personality have earned it blue ribbons in many competitions and a firm place in the category of America’s best washed rind cheeses.
Cheese O’Clock is a four-week Zoom cheese and wine tasting series led by cheese authorities Laura Werlin and Janet Fletcher. Different themes, cheeses and wines every time.
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