An American Cheese Board

- Matt Shankle

I am so excited about the food movement going on in America right now. We are going back to our roots and relying less on corporations to decide what is good for us to eat, and allowing seasons, availability and the environment to guide our diets. American processed cheese, mass-produced milk, and flavorless cheddar have long been what most countries have seen as our contribution to the dairy world. Today I can proudly say that the latter is no longer the case. More and more dairy farms, in the ancient European tradition, are creating sustainable, seasonal and artisanal styles of cheese. The cheeses on this board reflect this. Some of these cheeses are exported and sold in cheese shops in countries like England and even yes, dare I say it, France!


Cheese – Bonne Bouche

Region- Websterville, Vermont

Milk- Pasteurized Goat

Style- Soft, Surface Ripened

Information-The name translating to ‘good mouthful,” Bonne Bouche is made by the distinguished Vermont Creamery. This style of cheese is made in the French Loire valley style, by using tasteless vegetable ash to help develop the cheese and bring down some of the acidity. The flavors can range from fresh cream to a wonderful tangy finish.

Pairings- Acacia Honey

Wine- Cheverney

Beer- Wheat Beers

 

Cheese- Oma

Region- Northeast Kingdom, Vermont

Milk- Pasteurized Cow

Style- Soft, Washed Rinded

Information- Made by the famous Von Trapp family, yes these are the descendants of the Family from sound of music. Oma is made using the ancient technique of washing the rind that was developed by the Trappists Monks. Washing the rind on this cheese allows the bacteria to grow on the rind giving it an orange hue and a distinct aroma of asparagus and aged meats. The texture is silky and will break down to very creamy once the cheese has a bit of age on it. The flavors range from peanuts to cured meats such a salami and soppressata.

Pairings- Raw Red Onions, Rye Bread

Wine- Alsatian Riesling

Beer- Trappist Ales 

 

 

Cheese- Pleasant Ridge Reserve

Region- Dodgeville, Wisconsin

Milk- Raw Cow

Style- Firm, Alpine Style

Information- Pleasant Ridge Reserve is one of the finest examples of artisan cheese making in America right now. This cheese has won best in show at the American Cheese Society 3 times. The cheese, which is made with only grass fed cow’s milk, is made into a popular French alpine cheese called Beaufort. Pleasant Ridge has a texture that is firm but not crumbly and flavors that range from browned butter and sweet caramel, to slightly vegetal and earthy.

Pairings- Toffee Roasted Cashews

Wine- Cabernet Sauvignon

Beer- Triples

 

Cheese- Point Reyes Blue

Region- Point Reyes, California

Milk- Pasteurized Cow

Style- Semi-Soft Blue cheese

Information- Point Reyes blue is made on the coast of Northern California, which is very important in the process of making this cheese. The cheese, which resembles the Italian Gorgonzola, is aged in rooms that have a constant flow of coastal air allowing the cheese to take on some of this flavor. Point Reyes has a very clean and distinct flavor of sea salt, allowing it to be used in both recipes and on a cheese board. The texture is slightly firmer than most gorgonzola but also very creamy and silky.

Pairings- Sour Cherry Jam

Wine- Port Wine

Beer- Stou