As Jill mentioned earlier this week, we’re not at the American Cheese Society conference this year. It’s especially sad as the theme of this year’s event, taking place right now in Sacramento, California, is “Celebrating the American Cheese Plate.” Which, as y’all know, is what we do all year long here on Cheese & Champagne.
So rather than wallow over our cheese-plates-for-one, we thought we’d take a minute to highlight some of the new American cheese discoveries we’ve made in the past year — five beauties worth raising a glass to, even if you, like us, are drinking alone and watching the excitement unfold on social media.
- The Pacific Northwest: Sunset Bay, River’s Edge Chévre, Oregon — River’s Edge has been on our radar for years, but it’s far too infrequent that we get to sample them. Fortunately, the wise mongers at Southern California’s Cheese Cave added Sunset Bay to the stash my cheese sherpa (aka husband) picked up for me earlier this year. The characteristically bright chévre gets added zing from the smoked paprika line cutting the paste. A perfect summer picnic cheese if ever you had to choose just one.
- The California: Minuet, Andante Dairy, California — this triple cream is made with goats milk and Jersey cows-milk creme fraiche for a silky richness that is made to match with champagne. Made by the highly acclaimed Soyoung Scanlan at Andante Dairy.
- The Midwest: Martone, LaClare Farms, Wisconsin — We first sampled this new creation of cheesemaker (and new mama — congrats!) Katie last year, but it’s now been perfected and on the market. A little ashed round, it has a nice lactic tang.
- The South: Snow Camp, Goat Lady Dairy, North Carolina — I didn’t intend to include so many goat cheeses on this cheese plate, but there are so many good ones out there these days I guess it’s just part of my ongoing campaign to prove there’s a goat cheese out there for every goat-phobe. And this mixed cow and goat bloomy may just be the one for you.
- The Northeast: Timberdoodle, Woodcock Farm, Vermont — This approachable washed-rind, cows-milk Tallegio-style cheese is rich with a touch of peanutty flavor. While Woodcock Farm is known for their seasonal sheeps-milk cheeses (keep an eye out for their Summer Snow), they make several year-round cheeses utilizing the Jersey cows milk of neighboring Jersey Girls Farm in one of those cooperative stories that so epitomize the spirit of American artisan cheesemakers.
Thursday evening, ACS will announce this year’s winning cheeses — stay tuned and we’ll raise another glass to the Best in Show awardees right here. In the meantime …. tell us what new-to-you American cheese you’ve loved lately?