Another trip to Seattle, another cheese-scouting expedition in the books. As always, a highlight of my annual visit to my parents were my excursions to local cheese shops Beecher’s Handmade Cheese and the Calf & Kid. And I don’t know if it’s a pregnancy thing or what, but I mostly had my eyes on goat cheeses, so I came home with several, along with two pounds of Rainier cherries (can’t beat local cherries at their peak!).
Speaking of Rainier, my first pick comes from the foothills near Mt. Rainier (my mom’s favorite mountain). Glacier, from Mountain Lodge Farm, is a petite round of pasteurized goat cheese that resembles a French crottin. Its snowy-downed rind hides a semi-firm paste that doesn’t get too gooey, regardless of time spent at room temperature. Clean, crumbly and gently creamy, Glacier is a good basic goat cheese for your cheeseboard. Would I seek it out the next time I’m at Beecher’s? Probably not, but more because there are so many other Pacific Northwest cheeses to try than repeat.
However, if I were going to double up on a regional goat cheese, Sunset Bay would be my pick. Perennial C+C favorite Rivers Edge Chèvre makes this kicked-up version of its ash-coated goat cheese by adding a streak of paprika to the center. Colleen got a wedge from her cheese sherpa earlier this spring, and I was lucky enough to snag one, too. The combined zip of the ashy rind and the spiced center really makes Sunset Bay memorable, and check out that luscious creamline. Since I gobbled up my purchase in no time, perhaps my own cheese sherpa (aka Mom) will surprise me with an encore when she next visits.
Both goat cheeses pair wonderfully with a local bubbly – we love our Argyle sparkling wine, but take your pick from many excellent Oregon and Washington wineries. It’s probably too late to get those cherries now, but the last of the stone fruits would make an equally delicious accompaniment.
P.S. The timing of this post is no coincidence. I always have to feature Pacific Northwest cheeses to toast our Oregon-born and -bred gal, Colleen, on her birthday. Have a great one, C!