October was American Cheese Month and if you follow us on Instagram you know we’ve been celebrating every weekend with an extension of our “Fromage Friday” weekly member cheese posts called: “Weekend Wedge!” These posts celebrated American Cheesemakers who are Members of the Oldways Cheese Coalition! Learn more about the cheeses and the cheesemakers below:
Our first cheese was “2 Year Cheddar” from Grafton Village Cheese!
-This is their signature cheddar and is made with raw cow’s milk. It is a Vermont style cheddar that has a crumbly texture with a sharp flavor and notes of scallions that finishes rich and creamy. Try it in your homemade mac and cheese recipe for a sharp flavor that will surely be a crowd pleaser!
The first of our “Weekend Wedge” series came from California’s Cowgirl Creamery!
-Known for their soft ripened cheeses, we chose to highlight their semi-firm cheese: “Wagon Wheel!” This buttery cow’s milk cheese is an incredible melter and works wonders in a grilled cheese! Put down those pasteurized process cheese singles and slowly step into the world of grow-up grilled cheeses!
We rounded out our first edition of “Weekend Wedge” with an American take on a Swiss Classic: “Reading” from Spring Brook Farms in Vermont!
-This washed rind, semi-firm cheese is a take on the classic Swiss ‘Raclette” made with raw cow’s milk. Try this tasty cheese in your next Raclette or Fondue, or kick up that cold weather comfort meal of mac and cheese by adding this cheese to get a rich and melty, heart-warming dish!
Up next in October’s “Fromage Friday” was “Humboldt Fog Haze Remix” from Cypress Grove in California!
-Surely you’ve tried the American made cheese staple “Humboldt Fog” at some point in your cheesy endeavors, but have you tried their limited edition spinoff? Instead of the layer of vegetable ash inbetween the rich layers of goat cheese, a blend of fennel pollen and lavender. This adds a delicious note of herbal flavors to the densely creamy paste of this cheese!
Joining the ranks of American made Alpine style cheeses featured by us was “Roth Private Reserve” from Roth Cheese in Wisconsin!
-This raw cow’s milk cheese is aged for 6 months and made in copper vats for a truly traditional style of cheesemaking! The paste is lightly studded with tyrosine crystals and has a rich flavor with notes of toasted nuts and cooked milk.
We ended “Weekend Wedge” Part 2 with a beautifully, unique American cheese, “Red Rock” from Roelli Cheese Haus in Wisconsin!
-This annatto dyed cheddar is pierced similarly to the process of blue cheese to allow for a small amount of blue mold to form in the holes. When the mold begins to develop the cheese is pressed further to halt the molds from developing further. The cheddar develops sharper notes that contrast the buttery Wisconsin style cheddar. As it ages, the cheese develops a natural rind, further adding to the complexities of this cheese!
We kicked off weekend 3 of American Cheese Month with our first traditional Blue cheese: “Prince George’s Blue” from Maryland’s PA Bowen Farmstead!
-This raw cow’s milk blue is a milder blue with notes of fruit at the start and a slightly piquant finish as the flavors of the blue spread across your palate!
Next up was “Ameribella” from Jacobs & Brichford Cheese in Indiana!
-This washed rind cheese is made with raw cow’s milk. It has a rich and savory paste and fills your nostrils with aromas of fresh dough and yeast. Have some of this cheese with your favorite tart hard cider for a cheesy twist on a scratch made apple pie!
We travelled back to California to end weekend number 3 with “Blackstone” from Bellwether Farms!
-“Blackstone” is a blend of cow and sheep’s milk dotted with black peppercorns, the rind is rubbed with a blend of herbs and vegetable ash, try grating this on a pasta dish to add some peppery tang!
The final weekend of our “Weekend Wedge” series took us across the United States on a journey of curds! First up was “Smoked Goat Cheddar” from Redwood Hill Farm in California:
-This goat’s milk cheddar is lightly smoked and has a crumbly texture with a sharp goat’s milk tang that is rounded out by a smoky finish.
Saturday’s “Weekend Wedge” brought us to Illinois for V&V Supremo’s “Sierra Cotija”
-V&V Supremo is a cheesemaker with traditions beginning in Mexico, their founders brought Mexican style cheeses to the Chicago area and quickly became a recognized brand! Try their crumbly, sharp cow’s milk cotija grated over tacos or enchiladas for a traditional meal with a domestically produced and delicious cotija!
Our final wedge returned us to the East Coast with Maple Hill Creamery’s “Stone Creek Cheddar”
-While not made at Maple Hill Creamery, Maple Hill sends their 100% grass fed raw cow’s milk to another Cheese Coalition Member: Grafton Village in Vermont. The result is a creamy, sharp Vermont style cheddar made with the milk of happy cows in New York!
Thank you to all of our Members, both in the US and across the world, for their support of our work and helping us show the world the wonders of traditional styles of cheesemaking! See all of our “Fromage Friday” and “Weekend Wedge” posts on our Instagram page! And be sure to check out our blog on American Cheese Month pairings too!
Daniel McElligott - Oldways Cheese Coalition Research Associate