I’m a summer baby to the core — with a late August birthday and having spent my childhood on the West Coast, I am absolutely incapable of facing down Labor Day without getting in a final beach trip. (We made a day-trip to the Delaware shore.) But I have to say, the second week of September may just be my new favorite time of the year. My son, the eldest curdkid, was back to school last week but the baby, my daughter, didn’t go back to preschool until today. We had a lot of fun, and yes, a LOT of cheese, this summer — but having them back to school gives me time to finally cull through the hundreds of photos of my cheese travels and share them here. I have so many cheeses up my sleeves (not literally, though wouldn’t that be handy for sudden snack cravings?) that I may not have to purchase a new cheese until next summer. As if I could stay away from my cheese counters that long.
First, though, I thought we’d celebrate back to school with a review by the curd kid himself — and a special giveaway for the other curdkids out there. Having visited his fair share of cheese counters with me, the boy has little patience for unsuspecting mongers who try to pass him a sample of something “kid-friendly” like a gouda or cheddar. Oh he eats those, but he’ll point to the blues and ask for one of those, next. Our hometown monger — you may have spotted her in the Washington Post — turned him on to the Swiss Jersey Blue last winter, but it’s a Midwestern blue that’s been declared his most recent favorite.
Jill, as our Midwestern bureau chief, has sampled and written about a number of Shepherd’s Way Farms‘ cheeses over the years. It was actually my husband, the blues-hater, who first introduced Shepherd’s Way’s Big Woods Blue to our house, though, bringing it back from a business trip to Minneapolis earlier in the year. (Thank you, Surdyk’s Flights — instead of random airport tchotchke, we got a goodie bag of midwest cheese!) When we flew back from ACS via Minneapolis, my flight left from the Surdyk’s gate so I was able to grab another wedge for the boy.
Big Woods Blue is a rich and bold sheeps-milk, naturally-rinded blue. Ivory in color with streaks of blue-green, it balances the blue bite with a little sweetness from the sheeps milk. It’s made with vegetable rennet, for those of you looking for a kosher-friendly blue for your Yom Kippur break fast meal. Here’s the curd kid’s description: soft, creamy, blue. The ACS judges agree, awarding a third-place ribbon to Big Woods Blue at this year’s competition.
Next time we visit Jill, a trip to Shepherd’s Way will definitely be on the agenda. In the meantime, you can get a peek into the making of Big Wood’s Blue in this James Norton piece for Culture.
Wondering what the curd kids do on their summer vacation? Visit cows and ride the tractors at county fairs, of course. And, when visiting their Minnesota cousins, sample a Juicy Nookie. (That would be a cheeseburger with the cheese inside the burger. Minds blown. And to top it off, the kids get an ice cream cone after. Eight thumbs up from our dairy-obsessed kids.)
And now — a giveway! Click over to Facebook to enter to win a Wisconsin dairy lovin’ t-shirt (not the one pictured) for your curd kid. (Or yourself, if you think you can squeeze into a youth medium. We won’t judge.)