August’s Monthly Cheese Club Selections
Crown Finish Caves Tubby
Raw Cow’s Milk, Vermont and Brooklyn
First and foremost, we love Tubby for its taste. The cheese is a raw, organic, grass-fed cow’s milk cheese made in the traditional Alpine style, using copper vats.
Second, the creamery behind it–Spring Brook/Farm for City Kids– made this year’s “Best in Show” in the Cheese Oscars (held last month in Denver!). And, it’s a feel-good cheese. The farm is a nonprofit that brings city kids to the farm for a week to take care of the animals, help make the cheese, learn by doing things like calculating how much rennet to add to the milk, and for many, to roll down a hill on grass for the first time in their lives.
But it gets even cooler. Once made, the cheese is sent to Brooklyn to age at Crown Finish Caves, historic brick tunnels built in the 1850s to ferment and store beer. Today they are used to expertly age up to 22,000 pounds of cheese.
Tubby is washed regularly with a brine solution as it ages to create a pungent flavor that mellows into a complex blend of flavors as the cheese ages.
Pairings/Uses: Tubby is a stellar melter on anything you would want to melt cheese on (which is almost everything!)
Long-term subscribers of the Cheese Club know that we rarely feature European cheeses in our club selections. It’s not because the Europeans don’t make fabulous cheeses. They do. But we are passionate about American artisan cheeses, which now regularly hold their own against Old World cheeses in International competitions, so we usually use the club to expose our guests to some of the best America makes.
This month we’re making an exception for one of our favorite European cheeses. This is a rare sheep’s milk Gouda. Why do you care? Because sheep’s milk has the highest fat content of the traditional dairy animals (think goats and cows), and that extra fat helps create a cheese that can almost be described as cheese candy. You’ll taste flavors of butterscotch and caramel that are balanced by grassy and nutty notes.
The makers of this cheese are allowed to feed their sheep on a nature reserve in Holland. The cheesemaker jokes that the sheep “eat better than her children” on the lush pasture that surround the preserve, and the ewes are treated like family members.
Pairings: Ewephoria pairs nicely with fruity reds and richer whites or a Sherry or Port. For an extra treat, melt some of this on a fruit pie!
Jacobs & Brichford’s Brianna with Truffles
Raw Cow’s Milk, Indiana
The Southeast Indiana land that is currently home to Jacobs & Brichford’s farmstead creamery has been a family farm since the 1800s. Moreover, the current owner’s family (Matthew Brichford and his wife Leslie Jacob) have been in the area since 1819. To say their roots run deep here and they have a deep feeling for the land they farm is an understatement.
Matthew and Leslie have been on the land since 1981, with Matthew managing the farm and making the cheese and Leslie heading up marketing. All the milk used in their cheese is produced on the farm from grass-fed cows. Importantly, they are a seasonal dairy, meaning they give the cows a rest in the winter instead of milking them year-round. They make only raw milk cheese to allow the flavor of Indiana legacy grass to shine through.
Briana with Truffles is a semi-firm, smear-ripened (washed in brine) cheese that celebrates the combination of their raw milk with Italian black truffle. The pairing/production method produces a meaty and earthy cheese with nutty overtones and a slightly funky smell.
Pairing/Use Suggestions: Try grilling Briana between two thick slices of sourdough with sautéed mushrooms for an AMAZING grilled cheese! Or try it with an earthy red wine, like a Bordeaux or a Pinot Noir.