American Cheese Month
October is American Cheese Month! It's a time to celebrate the hard work of cheesemakers throughout the United States. Mongers around the country will be making a concerted effort to bring attention to American cheeses and the sustainable farming and business practices that allow makers to bring those cheeses to market. This year, we're focusing on our neighbors! Help us celebrate the tireless work of our friends at Bleating Heart Cheese, Moonside Creamery and Tomales Farmstead Creamery.
Seana Doughty grew up in Southern California, where the only cheeses in her childhood home were Velveeta & Kraft singles, along with the occasional commodity block cheddar. However, food had always been a passion. In 2008, she made a life-changing decision to quit her desk job and immerse herself in the world of cheese, first as a cheesemonger in Southern California. She soon opened her own creamery, Bleating Heart, and began making sheep's milk cheese in the cooler climate of the Northern California coast.
Fat Bottom Girl is a pasteurized sheep's milk cheese that earned its unique name when Seana had to leave a batch of newly-made cheese to run out to take care of the afternoon milking. When she returned, the cheeses had flattened a bit under their weight, creating an asymmetrical shape with a flat bottom. Made in small batches, Fat Bottom Girl has a firm ivory paste with an orange rind. Aged for two months, it pairs well with red wines such as Petit Syrah and Pinot Noir, or a light farmhouse ale.
Moonside Creamery is a family affair that prides itself on sustainability. Cheesemaker and owner Jennifer Kirkham sources organic milk from two local dairies. Her daughters assist with tasks ranging from cleaning to affinage, and her husband runs the family's farm, growing vegetables and raising pigs using the whey left over from the cheesemaking process.
Companion, Moonside Creamery's newest creation, is washed with cultures and salt brine several times during the aging process. The result is a supple paste with notes of beef broth, unsweetened chocolate and hay.
Lunetta is a natural-rinded cow's milk tomme with a firm texture that may sometimes develop crunchy tyrosine crystals. The cheese offers bright flavors of citrus and cultured butter with a savory, long finish.
Tamara Hicks and David Jablons have spent several years restoring their 160-acre farm property in Tomales, California. In 2007, they opened their own goat and sheep dairy, in recognition of the land’s previous incarnation as a cow dairy. The farm, which is certified humane and animal welfare approved, currently keeps about 200 goats and 100 sheep. In the spring of 2013, Tomales Farmstead began making its first cheeses.
Atika, named for the Miwok word for "two," blends farmstead goat and sheep milk into a firm wheel that boasts a beautiful, natural, brushed rind. The flavor profile is gentle, with flavors of nuts and grass, and a richness from the sheep's milk.
Teleeka, named for the Miwok word for "three," blends farmstead goat, sheep and cow's milk into a bloomy-rinded soft-ripened cheese based on the Italian La Tur. The flavor profile is buttery, creamy and rich with deep earthy afternotes that showcase the three milks. This cheese is a nice accompaniment to any beverage with bubbles.
Callisto from Briar Rose Creamery
Landaff from Landaff Creamery and The Cellars at Jasper Hill
Tupelo Honey from Chevoo
Thomasville Tomme from Sweet Grass Dairy