Better late than never! After searching in vain for one of the Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery goat cheeses (rumored to have been served at an official inaugural dinner) prior to Jan. 20, I finally got my unmanicured hands on the Moonglo cheese over the weekend. Thanks to my new friend Benjamin, fellow cheese blogger and manager of the great Cheese Shop at France 44, Twin Cities residents can get their first taste of this Illinois cheesemaker’s offerings – and if you live here, you really should.
Wes Jarrell and Leslie Cooperband opened Illinois’ first farmstead cheese-making operation in 2005, raising Nubian and La Macha goats and turning their milk into fantastic goat cheeses: fresh chevres, bloomy-rind cheeses and whole-goat milk ricotta. I purchased Moonglo, an aged, raw-milk tomme-style cheese. Jarrell and Cooperband wash the rind with a “tea” they make from Moonglo pear leaves. The result? A sumptuous, creamy cheese that coats the palate nicely and offers a pleasing tang. The fragrance may be a bit too “goaty” for some, but once again, this cheese passed the toddler taste test, so you know it can’t be too goaty.
Benjamin from the Cheese Shop at France 44 recommends serving the Moonglo with a Chardonnay, and I’d add some luscious fruit to your cheese platter. Prairie Fruits Farm is also home to an orchard and berry patch, and when the summer rolls around, the Moonglo would be delightful with some fresh blackberries and peaches.
A special note for Twin Cities cheese lovers: the Cheese Shop at France 44 received a shipment of 9 lbs. of Moonglo this past Saturday. Be sure to drop by before it’s gone!