Now that we've got the first month of 2020 under our belts, we're looking ahead with a clear vision (hello 2020 jokes, we're here all year) on how to support our industry best. We recently met with Davia Nelson of The Kitchen Sisters where we discussed the art of storytelling. Sometimes in the day-to-day of selling cheese, it's hard to remember to share the cheesemaker's story. Many of these cheesemakers we've worked with for years, decades even. They're our friends. They're our colleagues. And they are why we get to do what we do everyday. So in that vein, let's discuss two very interesting cheeses, their shared maker and how they came to be.
Calderwood, a collaboration between Saxelby Cheesemongers and the Cellars at Jasper Hill in Vermont, is an Alpine-style raw cow's milk cheese that is coated with finely chopped fibers of hay. The goal was to really translate a sense of place to the cheese itself by relying on Jasper's own hay and state of the art hay drier. Wheels of Jasper Hill's Alpha Tolman are first washed with brine over the course of 6 months. Dry, toasted hay is then rubbed into the rind and the wheels are sealed in cryovac. Another four months will pass before the cryovac is removed so the cheese can dry out and form a healthy natural rind. Calderwood started as an experiment to see how the addition of hay on the rind would affect the flavors of the cheese, and the experiment certainly paid off. Calderwood placed second best of show at ACS in 2018. The result of this lengthy and arduous production process is a rich and complex paste with notes of caramel, chestnut, honey and pineapple.
While busy working on the Calderwood project, the folks at Jasper Hill were also at work reviving a former cow dairy into something entirely new. Goats and sheep have always been in the long term vision for Jasper Hill and their partnership with Ryan Andrus and his wife Annie Rowden resulted in Bridgman Hill Farm, their first goat dairy. Bridgman Blue is made within Jasper Hill's original farmstead creamery in Greensboro, VT. The raw, cow milk is exclusively sourced from Jasper Hill's own Ayrshire cows. Before the make begins, the milk is blended with a fresh delivery of raw milk from Bridgman Hill Farm's goats. Curds are then formed using a specialized blue cheese vat. Tall cylinders of fresh cheese make their way across the drive into The Cellars, where a rustic natural rind is cultivated during several months of aging. The paste is a bit drier and more crumbly than its sister cheese Bayley Hazen Blue and the flavor profile is a beautiful cross of goat and cow milk. It's rich and minerally with notes of biscuit dough and buckwheat honey.
Westcombe Cheddar from Westcombe Dairy
Oldwick Shepherd from Valley Shepherd Creamery
Sunset Bay from River's Edge Chevre
Maple Curried Cashews & Peanuts from Clif Family