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Award-Winning Local Cheesemakers


CrescentFresh
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A number of cheesemakers from our region were rightly honored at the American Cheese Society's annual award ceremony last month in Louisville.

First and foremost, congratulations to Paul Stephan. Many of you see Paul each week at the Dupont, Penn Quarter and other farmers' markets. Paul is the owner of Blue Ridge Dairy in Leesburg and I venture that nearly all of you have tried his mozzarella or ricotta cheese at least once. Blue Ridge Mascarpone took third place. His Applewood Smoked Mozzarella took second place in its smoked cheeses category. And Blue Ridge Dairy's plain yogurt took third place. Paul makes excellent fresh cheeses and we're truly lucky to have him with us each week. He's still trying to work on getting some equipment from some woman in Quebec that will allow him to start selling cultured butter, his next venture.

Although the farm is located slightly further away, out in Garrett County, MD, Firefly Farms is now a regular at the Dupont Market. Their Mountain Top Blue took third place in the goat's milk blue category. They were behind only one other cheese, as no first place was awarded.

Lastly, other winning cheeses made and found locally (although not at a farmers market, but with a shameless plug for our friend Jill, you can find them at Cheesetique!) are from Everona Farms of Rapidan, VA. Everona's Muffaletta took second place in the flavored sheep's milk cheese category (again, there was no first place award given, making Everona's the best!) And winning the Farmstead Sheep Milk category was Everona's Piedmont. (Farmstead cheeses are limited to those made with milk from the cheesemaker's own herd/flock on the farm where the milk is produced.)

Edited by CrescentFresh
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I was at Whole Foods a week or so ago, looking for a Blue Ridge smoked mozzerella fix. They were out (or don't carry it anymore, or something...) and tried to steer me to a NY smoked mozzerella.

Please.

I waited until Sunday and stocked up at Dupont Farmers Market.

Finished it this afternoon with a perfect blt on Takoma Kitchens Dill Cottage Cheese bread.

Yum.

The local cheeses are very good and keep getting better. Firefly Farm is doing some amazing things with goat cheese...

Jennifer

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Cheesetique Rocks. Discovered it and went there several weeks ago. Definitely going back for more.

As an aside, some recent cheese favorites have been Humboldt Fog and Roaring 40's Blue

The makers of Roaring 40's make another cheese called Seal Bay triple creme. It's a totally different cheese from the Roaring 40's. You should get it anyway. Jill stocks it. If it's nice and fresh, ask her if you can poke the baby butt rind. :P

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Okay--- so I am from the South and went to college at UW-Madison. Who knew there were 20 cheeses to choose between in the South! :-)

http://www.southernfoodways.com/top10_cheeses.shtml

Announcing the South’s Best Cheeses

SFA Juried Cheese Tasting

• Top 10 Cow Milk

• Top 10 Goat and Sheep Milk

In advance of the 2006 Southern Foodways Symposium, a panel of three judges – Sarah Fritschner of the Courier Journal in Louisville, Tina Ujlaki of Food & Wine in New York, and Joe Castro of the English Grill in Louisville – convened to taste fifty-two Southern cheeses. They tasted the cheeses blind, employing protocols borrowed from the American Cheese Society.

Following are the top ten cheeses in both cow milk and goat/sheep milk categories, annotated by a sampling of judge comments. On October 28, at the Southern Foodways Symposium in Oxford, Mississippi, we will crown the winners in each category and introduce a recipe utilizing the winning cow milk cheese.

Funding for this project comes from the Southeast Dairy Association.

Cow Milk

Fleur de Teche

Bittersweet Plantation - Gonzales, Louisiana

Cow’s milk cheese. Triple cream, French style cheese made from Holstein cow milk. Bloomy rind with vegetable ash through center. Aged four to six weeks.

Judges said, “sweet, creamy, mild” “barny, balanced” ”beautiful light texture.”

Contact: John Folse

www.jfolse.com/bittersweet_dairy/products

(225) 644-6000 or (800) 256-2433

Green Hill

Sweet Grass Dairy - Thomasville, Georgia

Cow’s milk cheese. Soft-ripened, double cream cheese made from Jersey cow milk. White, bloomy rind. Rich and smooth. Aged four to six weeks.

Judges said, “sharp, yet buttery” “melts in your mouth” “very clean finish, amazing” “aroma of wet, green bushes.”

Contact: Desiree Wehner

www.sweetgrassdairy.com

(229) 227-0752Fleur de Lis

Bittersweet Plantation - Gonzales, Louisiana

Cow’s milk cheese. Triple cream French style cheese with bloomy rind. Aged four to six weeks.

Judges said, “heavenly” “but needs more tang” “creamy, buttery, addictive.”

Contact: John Folse

www.jfolse.com/bittersweet_dairy/products

(225) 644-6000 or (800) 256-2433

Grayson

Meadow Creek Dairy - Galax, Virginia

Cow’s milk cheese. Aged at least two months. Almost liquid when fully ripe and at room temperature. Very rich and beefy with pungent aroma and nutty, sweet overtone. Surface ripened with a thin reddish-orange washed rind.

Judges said, “very strong smelling, funky” “thick, dense, and smooth” “enticing” “barny and earthy.”

Contact:

www.meadowcreekdairy.com

mcd@LS.net

(888) 236-2776

Kentucky Blue

Kenny’s Country Cheese - Austin, Kentucky

Cow’s milk cheese. External blue molded cheese. Aged two and one-half months.

Judges said, “very stinky and strong” “creamy and pasty in a nice way” “nutty flavor underneath.”

Contact: Kenny and Rose Mattingly

www.kennyscheese.com

Kenny@kennyscheese.com

(888) 571-4029

Hickory Grove

Chapel Hill Creamery - Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Cow’s milk cheese. Washed rind. Monastery style. Buttery flavor. Melts well. Aged sixty to ninety days.

Judges said, “buttery and toasty” “a nice sharpness, not too aggressive” “good fruit cheese” “soft and creamy in mouth.”

Contact: Portia McKnight and Flo Hawley

(919) 967-3757

Natural Rind

Yellow Branch - Robbinsville, North Carolina

Cow’s milk cheese. Unwaxed and washed in apple cider vinegar. Drier and sharper version of farmstead cheese. Aged for a minimum of four months.

Judges said, “milky, acidic” “dry, aged” “caramel nose” “sharp in a cheddary way” “balanced and pleasant.”

Contact: Bruce DeGroot and Karen Mickler

www.yellowbranch.com

mail@yellowbranch.com

(828) 479-6710

Trappist Mild

Gethsemani - Trappist, Kentucky

Cow’s milk cheese. Made in French Port du Salut style. Aged two weeks.

Judges said, “balanced” “promising aroma” “pungent and earthy” “tiny bit rubbery.”

Contact:

www.gethsemanifarms.org/cheese.asp

gethfarms@bardstown.com

(800) 549-0912

Fresh Mozzarella

Mozzarella Company - Dallas, Texas

Cow’s milk cheese. Moist, creamy, and flavorful. Hand formed balls or tubes.

Judges said, “fresh dairy smell” “mild and pleasant” “a little on the rubbery side” “milky.”

Contact: Paula Lambert

www.mozzco.com

(214) 741-1072

Clemson Blue

Clemson University - Clemson, South Carolina

Cow’s milk cheese. Blue-veined and aged for six months.

Judges said, “textbook blue taste” “tart” “a little curdy” “salty.”

Contact:

www.clemson.edu/foodscience/bluecheese.htm

clemsonblue@yahoo.com

(800) 599-0181

Sheep and Goat Milk

Stackhouse

Spinning Spider Creamery - Marshall, North Carolina

Farmstead goat cheese. One-half pound loaf with a white rind. Thin layer of organic apple wood ash down the center and dusting of ash under the rind. Aged three to four weeks.

Judges said, “assertive, strong, promising” “milky, tangy, salty, balanced, multi-dimensional” “texture is perfect throughout.”

Contact: Chris and Jeff Owen

www.southerncheese.com/Pages/spinningspider.html

(828) 689-5508

Sophia

Capriole - Greenville, Kentuckiana

Farmstead goat cheese. One pound loaf with wrinkly, white rind. Marbled with ash. Aged approximately five days in cave.

Judges said, “creamy, light paste, moist—perfect to me” “fabulous, no flaws” “needs a little more age” “love the look of this cheese.”

Contact: Judy Schad

www.capriolegoatcheese.com

caprioleinc@aol.com

(812) 923-9408

Old Kentucky Tomme

Capriole - Greenville, Kentuckiana

Farmstead goat cheese. Four to five pound wheel with whitish grey rind. Mellow, buttery, and mild, with mushroomy overtones. Aged four months.

Judges said, “very salty, barny—delicious” “fresh, mild, pleasant” “firm, but creamy” “good acid/bitter/salt/milk balance.”

Contact: Judy Schad

www.capriolegoatcheese.com

caprioleinc@aol.com

(812) 923-9408

O’Banon

Capriole - Greenville, Kentuckiana

Farmstead goat cheese aged in Old Forester- and Woodford Reserve Bourbon-soaked chestnut leaves. Creamy and dense.

Judges said, “fresh, lemony, and figgy” “needs a bit more salt” “milky, boozy, leafy—aromatics overwhelm the cheese a bit” “very pleasant mouth feel.”

Contact: Judy Schad

www.capriolegoatcheese.com

caprioleinc@aol.com

(812) 923-9408Camille

Spinning Spider Creamery - Marshall, North Carolina

Farmstead goat cheese. Traditional goat milk Camembert in half-pound round. Aged three to four weeks.

Judges said, “a little bitter finish, but balanced and clean” “silky and rich in your mouth where it is ripe”

Contact: Chris and Jeff Owen

www.southerncheese.com/Pages/spinningspider.html

(828) 689-5508

Evangeline

Bittersweet Plantation - Gonzales, Louisiana

Aged goat cheese. Triple cream goat’s milk cheese in four ounce round. Tangy, soft, almost runny paste. Aged three to four weeks.

Judges said, “nice and cheesy, pungent” “tacky in your mouth in a pleasant way” “rind is bitter.”

Contact: John Folse

www.jfolse.com/bittersweet_dairy/products

(225) 644-6000 or (800) 256-2433

Chevre

La Cuesta Farm - Laguna Park, Texas

Farmstead goat cheese. Soft and cultured. Alternative to cream cheese. Normally produced lightly salted, but can be made salt-free with advance notice.

Judges said, “creamy, milky, mild” “moist and curdy” “fresh and nicely dense.”

Contact: Alberto and John

www.lacuestafarm.com

(254) 622-2751

Piedmont

Everona Dairy - Rapidan, Virginia

Fresh sheep’s milk cheese. Sweet, nutty, and pleasant aftertaste. Aged six months.

Judges said, “dry and crumbly in your mouth” “good toasty, caramel smell” “a little tart, not too much finish.”

Contact: Pat Elliot

(540) 854-4159

Jumping Jack

Firefly Farms - Bittinger, Maryland

Farmstead goat cheese. Washed rind. Semi-soft texture, similar to a Munster cheese. Aged three months.

Judges said, “very mild” “understated” “sweet, nutty and mildly fruity” “not quite assertive enough” “firm and crumbly.”

Contact:

www.fireflyfarms.com

(301) 245-4630

Merry Goat Round

Firefly Farms - Bittinger, Maryland

Aged goat cheese. Similar to a goat’s milk brie, but firmer. Sharp like a young cheddar. Aged five to eight weeks.

Judges said, “almost like a very, very mild blue” “tangy” “dry, dense, crumbly, and chalky.”

Contact:

www.fireflyfarms.com

(301) 245-4630

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There are local sources for several of the cheeses/cheesemakers mentioned above.

Firefly Farms comes to the Dupont Market every Sunday, and their cheeses are also sold in local Whole Foods stores.

I have bought Grayson (Meadow Creek Dairy, Galax, VA) at P Street Whole Foods, and a cheese from Everona Dairy, though not the one cited, as I recall. I think they also carry these cheeses at Arrowine.

I believe I have also seen Capriole cheese, though I can't recall where just now.

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A number of cheesemakers from our region were rightly honored at the American Cheese Society's annual award ceremony last month in Louisville.

First and foremost, congratulations to Paul Stephan. Many of you see Paul each week at the Dupont, Penn Quarter and other farmers' markets. Paul is the owner of Blue Ridge Dairy in Leesburg and I venture that nearly all of you have tried his mozzarella or ricotta cheese at least once. Blue Ridge Mascarpone took third place. His Applewood Smoked Mozzarella took second place in its smoked cheeses category. And Blue Ridge Dairy's plain yogurt took third place. Paul makes excellent fresh cheeses and we're truly lucky to have him with us each week.

More winning dairy products for Blue Ridge Dairy. Paul's plain yogurt took first place at this year's awards in Portland. Several other products of his also took 2nd and 3rd place awards, including his new creme fraiche, which took 2nd place.

Congrats also to Firefly Farms for some 2nd place wins with their Mountaintop Bleu and Buche Noir.

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Cheesetique Rocks. Discovered it and went there several weeks ago. Definitely going back for more.

As an aside, some recent cheese favorites have been Humboldt Fog and Roaring 40's Blue

You might want to give the Maytag a try. It's wonderful.
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More winning dairy products for Blue Ridge Dairy. Paul's plain yogurt took first place at this year's awards in Portland. Several other products of his also took 2nd and 3rd place awards, including his new creme fraiche, which took 2nd place.

Congrats also to Firefly Farms for some 2nd place wins with their Mountaintop Bleu and Buche Noir.

This is great that some local farms got recognition. Personally, I ADORE Paul's Honey Yogurt. Its to die for. It reminds me of a dessert that is served in Greece , which I had in Athens when I visited several years ago - which is a Honey Cheese. Anyway,for all those chees lovers out there - Blue Ridge has great Ricotta and Marscapone. But try the honey yogurt. TO DIE FOR.

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First and foremost, congratulations to Paul Stephan. Many of you see Paul each week at the Dupont, Penn Quarter and other farmers' markets. Paul is the owner of Blue Ridge Dairy - His Applewood Smoked Mozzarella took second place in its smoked cheeses category.
I made my first visit to the Penn Quarter and, on a whim, picked up some of that Applewood Smoked Mozzarella. What a taste epiphany! That is the most incredible cheese - truly smoky (like it just came out of the smoker), firm, and full of great flavor. Wow - I'll be back for more. Sounds like I should try some of their other products - it will be hard to move on from the smoked mozzarella....
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I made my first visit to the Penn Quarter and, on a whim, picked up some of that Applewood Smoked Mozzarella. What a taste epiphany! That is the most incredible cheese - truly smoky (like it just came out of the smoker), firm, and full of great flavor. Wow - I'll be back for more. Sounds like I should try some of their other products - it will be hard to move on from the smoked mozzarella....

Use that smoked mozzarella with any dish you make with mushrooms. Paul recommended that idea to me once and he wasn't kidding. Sauteed wild mushrooms over polenta with that cheese is probably my favorite preparation.

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Sounds like I should try some of their other products - it will be hard to move on from the smoked mozzarella....

I love the smoked mozzarella, and recently tried his Feta! Very different from the usual stuff in the grocery store, more delicate, with a buttery flavor. Yum.

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It reminds me of a dessert that is served in Greece , which I had in Athens when I visited several years ago - which is a Honey Cheese.

You should give our Honey Goat a try - granted, it's from Belgium and not Greece, but it's a fresh goat mixed with fresh honey. It's like honey-flavored-velvet (if there were such a thing - and if there were, I'd make a dress out of it).

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I recently went back to the Arlington Farmer's Market after a 2yr hiatus (always had to work Friday & Saturday nights so I needed my sleep) and happened across Blue Ridge...now I am a "lactard" - a lactose intolerant individual who rather suffer than give up all dairy...and I sampled the ricotta and went ape. I ended walking away with tubs of ricotta and mozarella - all of which were inhaled in a matter of hrs. I would gladly punish myself for that stuff anyday..

Only 2 days to Saturday...thank God!!!

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