Ok, I am cheating here, because the Buffalo Blue is a cheese I bought in Claremont, about a month ago. But some weeks, there are just leftover pieces of cheese in my house, and at other times – it’s a party. I have written about the folks at Bleating Heart in this blog before so I will not repeat that here. You can find something on their Four Square cheese that I tried in week 9 of this year. That was a pretty unique cheese, because it is made with the milk of goats, sheep, cows and water buffalo, those of Mozzarella di Bufala Campana fame. Seana Doughty, the cheesemaker and founder of Bleating Heart, decided not to try to recreate her own Mozzarella and created a blue cheese instead. Given that buffalo milk has about double the amount of milkfat of normal cow’s milk, this makes for a very creamy blue.
There is a bit if sweetness in Buffalo Blue that balances the bite of the Penicillium, which makes it a very accessible cheese. That is absolutely not to say that this is not an interesting chees, au contraire: it is an adventure in blue, and one can only hope that the good folk at Bleating Heart will continue to defy convention and, as they say “making seriously good cheeses without taking ourselves too seriously”.
White Whale Farm is in Petaluma, not far from where Christine and I spent a fabulous weekend in the winter of 2014 on Tomales Bay. Had we only known at the time, we would have visited Anna Hancock and her happy goats (admit it, those are some happy looking goats). Alas, we were unaware at the time, so we had to make do with oysters and a selection of cheese from the Cow Girl Creamery.
Samson is the name of one of the two dogs that look after the goats. I don’t know about the dogs, but the cheese is just great. It is definitely a goaty cheese (go figure) but it has had a chance to ripen and develop its flavors which just makes it an all-around wonderful cheese. There is salt, sweetness, a bit of mushroom and a bit of funkiness (just enough). The goats are Saanens and Alpines, with a few other races thrown in for good measure. Both the former are known to be high producers. The dairy, in an 1867 barn, also is home to pigs and chickens – Christine and I will have it on our NoCal list of things to do, because it sounds just wonderful.
The picture at the top also shows the Buffalo Blue from Bleating Heart (see Week 26) and the Estero Gold Reserve from Valley Ford Cheese Company, from Valley Ford in California, not far from Petaluma on Pacific Coast Highway. The latter reminds me of a mature Dutch cheese, what we’d call ouwe kaas. Excellent cheese – I’ll know where to find you folks, next time I am in the neighborhood.
Not really related to the White Whale Farm, but very much on the theme of happy goats is the below video, made at our favorite Dutch goat farm, the Mèkkerstee near Ouddorp in the southwest of the country, where they have mainly Dutch White Goats with some Toggenburgers mixed in. They installed some rotating brushes in the stable (think carwash), which make the animals very, very happy. Fun for goats.