Since I began working at Formaggio Kitchen South End, I have been bowled over by a selection of small goat milk cheeses made by Tricia Smith at Ruggles Hill Creamery in Hardwick, MA.
If, as Clifton Fadiman once said, “cheese is milk’s leap toward immortality”, then rennet could be considered the springboard of cheesemaking.
This past summer, I had the opportunity to assist with cheesemaking at Jasper Hill Farm. One of my favorite cheeses made by the team in Greensboro, VT is called Harbison, a fairly recent addition to the line-up but no less spectacular than their other cheeses.
I recently had the great fortune to visit with Stan Biasini and his family at Mt. Mansfield Creamery in Morristown, Vermont. I arrived bright and early, just as Stan was pooling the milk from the morning milking into a heating vat to begin making his cheese: Inspiration.
Last year, I visited the Cellars at Jasper Hill and had the opportunity to participate in the Winnimere cheesemaking process. It was a very educational experience as there are some interesting new developments going on at Jasper Hill.
It’s a rare day on the cheese counter that we mongers don’t dip into our bucket of fresh mozzarella from the Mozzarella House at least a couple of times. This small operation in Everett supplies Formaggio Kitchen with most of its fresh cow’s milk mozzarella and burrata. My fellow cheesemonger Jess and I recently dropped in for a visit to their cheese room, and owner Giuseppe was kind enough to let us have a look around the facility, as well as share some background on their process.
On a recent trip to Italy, I had the opportunity to visit a co-op that makes Parmigiano Reggiano. It was a first for me – I have witnessed the cheesemaking process before and have even tried my hand at making chèvre but I have never before observed the making of a hard, aged cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano. A small group of farmers in the area bring milk to the co-operative each week and, starting at 5am every day, that milk begins a process that transforms it into a cheese so many of us know and love. Parmigiano Reggiano is a DOP product. In Italian, DOP stands for Denominazione di Origine Protetta (Protected Designation of Origin).
Having seen their tommes progress from curds into molds and finally to the cave, we sat around the Burgat’s kitchen table, drank some wine, chatted and sampled a wheel of their cheese with some bread. A pretty perfect evening in my book.