On Saturday, Gail and I picked up our first local cheese share from Formaggio Kitchen. We signed up for three months, and it looks like something we might keep doing for a while.
Formaggio hires passionate people. By coincidence, the first person we asked about picking up our cheese was Erin Carlman Weber, the person who picks what is in the package. She was excited to tell us about the heirloom apple she included to go with the Cabot Clothbound Cheddar. Her enthusiasm made getting our package feel like getting a Christmas present.
The package included:
Ada's Honor, Ruggles Hilll Creamery from Harwick, MA
This is a small round of goat cheese. It has a thick, white rind followed by a thin gooey edge and a dry, flaky center. It reminded me of the texture variety of a Bucheron, but with a thinner gooey edge. It was both mild and richly flavored. I'm not sure how that's possible. We both liked this one very much.
Kunik, Nettle Meadow Farm from Thurman, NY
This is a larger round of cheese, like a small brie. And, this cheese tasted like a mild, but not bland brie. It had the same white rind with a slightly gooey center and a nice buttery flavor. It is made with a delicious combination of goat milk and cow milk. I would favor this over the sometimes funkier flavors of a brie.
Dorset, Consider Bardwell Farm from West Pawlet, VT
This is a wedge of soft, moist cheese. It was mild, but had a slight blue cheese flavor. By chance, we had another cheese in our refrigerator from Consider Bardwell: Pawlet. It is a very similar cheese; a bit dryer and firmer but still soft. It has a similar mild flavor without the tangy blue notes. We liked the Pawlet better.
Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, Cellars at Jasper Hill from Greensboro, VT
This was not our first Cabot Clothbound Cheddar, but it was the most well aged, flaky-dry example we've had: wow! There was really no slicing this cheese, and I'm not sure how they sliced the piece we had. It just broke apart under the knife. The result was a rich cheddar flavor with a mild hint of the caramel notes of a great blue cheese.
Erin included a D'Arcy Spicy heirloom apple to go with the cheddar. The apple was from Scott Farm in Dommerston Vermont. The apple alone was mildly tart, not the type of apple I would usually eat plain. I'm also not usually an apple and cheese guy, but I can see why people would like this pairing of sweet and salty. The textures matched so that it was hard to tell what was apple and what was cheese. The cheese mellowed the tartness of the apple, and the apple mellowed the blue notes in the cheese. I'd rather have those flavors independent and prominent.
Thanks for the gift, Erin.