Ledyard (Week 36)

ledyard
It’s gone before you know it: must..eat…Led….yard

Cheese: Ledyard

Producer: Meadowood Farms

Where: Cazenovia, New York

Just southeast of Syracuse in New York is Cazenovia, and don’t say “well, everybody knows that”. Cazenovia is home to a little over 7,000 souls and at least one ridiculously photogenic farm, Meadowood. Oh, be that way, don’t take my word for it. Look at their website and then agree with me, that’s fine. Meadowood is home to a herd of East Frisian sheep. Apparently these woolly wonders are the best that sheepdom has to offer in versatility: they produce a lot of milk, compared to other sheep, they provide fine wool and if all else fails, they don’t taste so bad either. The perfect package for a relatively small farm. The cheesemaker here is a woman by the name of Veronica Predraza, and

You can listen to a radio interview with her here. I just thought that I could put that in here, because I have not yet had the opportunity to link with a radio program. You can skip the first 2:12 minutes.

ledyard-ii
Ledyard – competition in the background

Veronica gave us Ledyard, this week’s cheese. She clearly knows her stuff and ended up borrowing an Italian tradition – that of the leaf-wrapped robiolas – for this particular cheese. so you take your soft ewe’s milk cheese, soak some grape leafs in beer (Deep Purple, a beer made with Concord grapes added for flavor and the purple color), slap ‘em on the cheese to create a neatly wrapped package, let it age for 4-6 weeks and voilà, you got yourself a cheese that is something else altogether. Ledyard is fresh, with some herbal notes, a bit of yeast and a bit of fruit, and yes, this time around I mean all of this high-falutin’ stuff: the cheese packs a lot of different flavors in each bit, and they all seem to be vying for attention, not all together, but one after another, which makes eating the cheese pleasantly confusing (is it a vegetable? No! Is it cream? No! Is it a drink? No!)

Notable: Ledyard became this week’s cheese after a pitched battle with the other cheeses I got from DTLA Cheese, a battle that took the shape of a true cheese orgy: the Smoked Kashar from Parish Hill Creamery in Vermont, the formidable Bandage Wrapped Cheddar from Fiscalini in Modesto in the Golden State, the Adair from Jacobs and Brichford in Indiana’s Whitewater Valley and the take-no-prisoners stinky Dorset cheese from Consider Bardwell Farm of West Pawlet in Vermont. Given the strong field – much better and more competitive than the republic presidential slate. And because of that, let’s show all of the contestants: drrrrrrrummrollllll:

smoked-kasar
Smoked Kashar from Parish Hill Creamery
cheddar
Bandage Wrapped Cheddar from Fiscalini Farms
adair
Adair from Jacobs and Brichford Farm
dorset
Dorset from Consider Bardwell Farm

Tumbleweed (Week 10)

San Joaquin Gold & Tumbleweed
Top: Tumbleweed. Bottom: San Joaquin Gold

Cheese: Tumbleweed

Producer: 5 Spoke Creamery

Where: Goshen, New York

I picked up 2 cheeses at C’est Cheese in Santa Barbara, and while I really did like the San Joaquin Gold, I thought the Tumbleweed was the winner in this match. I got a somewhat strange stubby piece that allowed me to cut it up in very thick slices and it went surprisingly fast. Tumbleweed is made with raw milk from grass-fed Holsteins and your tastebuds have to put in overtime to take it all in: it’s buttery, nutty, a little sweet and it somehow never ends. There is just a lot of flavor to be savored. I am sure it pairs great with a robust red wine (this cheese can easily take on a robust Bordeaux or so), I say leave it. Just have nothing but bread and cheese here – there is enough to keep your senses entertained.

Tumbleweed is made by the people at 5 Spoke Creamery in Goshen, in the county of Orange in the state of New York. Their name and their logo feature spokes in a bicycle wheel. The bicycle in turn is a symbol for taking time to do and to enjoy things. Their cows, Holsteins, are grass-fed and the milk used for cheese is raw. The website extolls the virtues of unpasteurized milk and they point out that 70% of all European cheese is raw. The cheese is aged up to 12 months and that of course helps the taste truly unfold. The creamery is in a farm that is over 110 years old but has been renovated to house a state-of-the-art sustainable operation that cranks out the dairy gold. Alan Glustoff owns 5 Spoke and you can see him at his farm in this video.

By the way, just because in my very informal taste test the San Joaquin Gold from Fiscalini’s came in second, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get some if you can lay your paws on it. They’ve been in the cheesemaking business for over a hundred years – and this particular cheese has a cow stamped into it – what is there not like ?

C'est Cheese
At the Cheese Counter in C’est Cheese