Specialty Food Magazine


Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 42 of 131

cheese focus Hand-Selling and Education Create Fans A nudge is sometimes all it takes to get consumers to try—and love—sheep's milk cheeses. At Venissimo and Lucy's Whey, mongers may suggest customers famil- iar with Manchego try Dante from the Wisconsin Sheep Dairy Cooperative. "It's the flavor profile they're looking for," says Thompson, "really rich and nutty and savory." Graff says his stores also do well with Bellwether Farms San Andreas, Hook 's Cheese Company Little Boy Blue, and sev- eral selections from Old Chatham, includ- ing the bloomy-rind Kinderhook Creek and Ewe's Blue. Graff also takes all he can get of Shepherdista and Fat Bottom Girl, small- production aged cheeses from Northern California's Bleating Heart. At Wedge, a specialty cheese shop in Reno, owner Laura Conrow says she regularly stocks Bellwether's Pepato, a pep- percorn-studded version of San Andreas; and Carr Valley's Cave-Aged Marisa, a staff favorite. "We pop in others from small producers as available, but those are our standards," says Conrow, who notes that customers accept the relatively high pricing when she explains the differences in scale between, say, the family-owned Bellwether Farms and an industrial Manchego. Thompson, another Bellwether fan, is also taken with the cheeses from Meadowood Farm, near Syracuse, N.Y. The beer-washed Rippleton, cider-washed Lorenzo, and leaf-wrapped, soft-ripened Ledyard have all sold briskly at both Lucy's Whey shops in Manhattan. Another sheep's milk newbie doing well for Thompson is Dulcinea, a cocoa-rubbed aged wheel from Danascara Cheese in upstate New York. What's missing in the domestic sheep's milk niche? Fresh and soft-ripened cheeses, says Thompson. "Getting them to market is difficult," admits the merchant, "but if someone could do it, there would be a great response." Graff sees the whole sheep's milk category as wide open for would-be chee- semakers, who occasionally come to him for insights. "If you can get your hands on sheep's milk," says Graff, "that's what the market wants right now." AMERICAN SHEEP CHEESE PRODUCERS TO WATCH Joining veterans like Bellwether Farms, Carr Valley, Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, Vermont Shepherd, and the Wisconsin Sheep Dairy Cooperative, these relative newcomers are making cheeses worth discovering. ANCIENT HERITAGE (OR) Adelle: mixed milk, bloomy-rind disk BARINAGA RANCH (CA) Baserri: Basque-style, raw-milk, 4-pound wheel Txiki: Baserri in a smaller format BLEATING HEART (CA) Fat Bottom Girl: 2-pound, raw-milk wheel, lightly washed Shepherdista: raw-milk, 1½-pound wheel with natural rind DANASCARA (NY) Dulcinea: Spanish-style wheel rubbed with cocoa and olive oil HIDDEN SPRINGS CREAMERY (WI) Driftless (pictured): spreadable, tub-packed fresh cheese Ocooch Mountain: raw-milk, washed-rind wheel aged 3 to 4 months Bohemian Blue: rindless blue made at Hook's Cheese with Hidden Springs milk MANY FOLD FARM (GA) Brebis: creamy, fresh, unripened cheese MEADOWOOD FARM (NY) Rippleton: beer-washed cheese; aged a minimum of 2 months Ledyard: bloomy-rind disk wrapped in grape leaves Lorenzo: cider-washed wheel resembling raclette SHEPHERD'S WAY FARM (MN) Shepherd's Hope: fresh, moist, spreadable; tangier with age Big Woods Blue: 6-pound rindless blue; buttery and spicy WOODCOCK FARM (VT) Summer Snow: 12-ounce Camembert-style disk Weston Wheel: Manchego-style 5- to 6-pound wheel Janet Fletcher is the weekly cheese columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and the author of Cheese & Beer. Hidden Springs Creamery Driftless in cranberry cinnamon 40 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com cheeseFocus_S14.indd 40 3/17/14 7:58 AM

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