I spent my spring break in New York, but with two kids in tow and grandparents to visit, it was not the culinary extravaganza of past visits. I was determined, however, to finally check out Saxelby Cheesemongers and the Essex Street Market, so my toddler and I hopped the 7 train into the city for a day of grazing. Fortunately, Anne Saxelby was generous with the samples to help keep my bialy-noshing mini-curdhound satiated while I worked my way through an assortment of Northeast cheeses I’d been dying to try. I brought a few back to Washington, too — including today’s cheese, Shushan Snow.
Shushan Snow, the latest in what could be an endless series of bloomies here on C+C, has been on our radar since 2009. Back in the early days of the blog, we reached out to then-Serious Eats cheese contributor Jamie Forrest for picks for an inaugural cheese plate. Jamie recommended Shushan Snow as the “white” cheese in a “red, white and blue” trio, and it has remained the only of the three we hadn’t tasted, until now. Shushan Snow is produced by 3-Corner Field Farm in New York’s Hudson Valley. It is unique because it is made from sheep’s milk. That’s right, a sheeps-milk camembert-style cheese. (Local rival Nancy’s Hudson Valley Camembert is made with a blend of sheep and cows milk.)
With a snowy white, soft rind it has the look of a triple-cream with the added earthiness and richness of sheeps’ milk. Mine was almost too fresh, with a dense paste still when I cut into it, but it softened nicely. The mushroomy rind didn’t have that astringency that some bloomy rinds do, and it boasts a more complex flavor than some of the uber-creamy American “camemberts”. (You do know that true Camembert is made from raw cows milk in Normandy, France, right? As with the naming rights for champagne, some American cheesemakers try to play cute with the name, so we give extra brownie points to 3-Corner Field Farm for giving theirs its own name.) And yes, we had it with sparkling wine. 3-Corner Field’s cheeses are hard to find outside of New York, but worth seeking out. They have a fresh Brebis Blanche that is divine.
If you needed any more of an excuse to get to New York, the weekend of June 23-24 holds both the 3rd Annual Cheesemonger Invitational in Long Island City on Saturday, 6/23, AND the New Amsterdam Market’s Regional Cheese Market & Dairy Fair on Sunday, 6/24. Get your tickets now for the CMI as it’s sure to be another sell-out event. (Perry Soulos of Arlington’s Arrowine is once again representing the DMV.)
Read more about what makes a bloomy-rind bloomy in our Curdwise: virtual cheese school post.