Fifty Best Cheese
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Cheese has been enjoyed for hundreds of years, but only recently has there been a resurgence, enhanced by new artisanal cheese producers from all over the world.


Here are the fifty best cheese classics and newcomers, listed alphabetically from 9 different countries.

 

  Country: United States  

Lake's Edge

Lake's Edge
Salisbury, Vermont, USA
Made by Blue Ledge Farm

Classic goat cheese, American style, this soft and fluffy chevre from Vermont is the best of the litter. It's still made in small batches on a small family farm. The resulting cheese has tart and milky flavors like any other goat cheese, but it also has an earthy, vegetal quality. Its complexity is simply astounding, and it has a certain simple cheesy creaminess which will appeal to the cheese novice. This cheese deserves to be legendary. Until arcane US cheese laws change, and raw milk is available to make cheese like this, this cheese cannot be topped.

 

  Country: United States  
Oregon Blue Vein

Oregon Blue Vein
Central Point, Oregon, USA
Made by Rogue Creamery

This is the greatest blue in America, the rival of all the other blues of the world. Tom Vella, one of the luminaries in the aristocracy of American cheese, invented this one. In the 1950's, Tom traveled to Roquefort and learned to make blue. While there, he stole some scrapings from the caves to smear on the walls of his own. He was followed by his son, Ig, and later by the current owners of Rogue Creamery, where Ig is still considered the master cheese maker. And a master Ig is. The blue is perfectly balanced. Salty, sweet, smelly, spicy, creamy, crumbly, everything good about blue is in this cheese.

 

  Country: United States  

Hooligan
Colchester Connecticut, USA
Made by Cato Corner Farm

The folks at Cato Corner are the gods of American stinkers, and this is their finest creation. Hooligan embodies the perfection of small washed rind cheese. Firmer than your standard washed rind, Hooligan is lower on the fruity flavors, but long on classic milky, rich, hearty cheese flavors. Just one taste of this and you'll be wondering why you were so afraid of the smell.

Hooligan

 

  Country: United States  
Constant Bliss

Constant Bliss
Greensboro, Vermont, USA
Made by Jasper Hill Farm

This is the darling of American Artisan cheese, and for good reason. It embodies the movement. Born of an Old World recipe, it has morphed to become a cheese unlike any in the world. Neither firm nor hard, the cheese delivers what it promises . . . a constant, nutty, mushroomy, salty bliss.

 

  Country: United States  
Pleasant Ridge Reserve

Pleasant Ridge Reserve
Dodgeville, WI, USA
Made by Uplands Cheese Company

This is the archetype for small American farmstead gruyere. Loosely based on Beaufort, PRR benefits from smaller wheel size. It makes the cheese age faster, and allows the rind treatments to penetrate the cheese more thoroughly. The result is an uncommonly aromatic cheese, with a delightful piquancy, full buttery flavor, and a taste of meaty nuts, perhaps cashews.

 

  Country: United States  
Northland Farms

Folie Bergere
Marathon, NY ,USA
Produced by Northland Sheep Dairy

If you want to taste what we would lose if cheese was no longer made on the farm, try this. It doesn't get any more farmstead. Sure it has all the depth of flavor, the creamy nutty wonder, of a good Pecorino or Roncal, but it also has a huge sheepy bite, with all the rustic flavor of a moist wool sweater. This cheese shows how a relatively simple, handcrafted product can be overwhelmingly sophisticated.

 

  Country: England, United States  

American Farmhouse Cheddar
All over the US, Canada, Britain,
and former commonwealth countries

The modern style of cheddar has become a cheese in its own right, and when done well, an artisan "American" style cheddar can be an amazing cheese. The plastic or wax rind allows for extended aging with a long, slow development of a clean sharp flavor, occasional fruity notes, and a moist, toothsome texture. There are many fine makers of this style of cheese, but seek out a taste of Grafton Village's product. The vegetable rennet they use causes the well-aged cheeses to develop a slightly musty quality that balances out the sharpness and dovetails beautifully with the cream.

American Farmhouse Cheddar Cheese

 

  Country: United States  

Teleme
San Luis Obispo, CA, USA
Produced by Franklin Peluso

Teleme is an American original developed by Giovanni, Franklin's Granddad. After a selling the farm and having a series of country-crossing adventures, Franklin is back making cheese, and his Teleme is still THE one. While tasty young, well-ripened is the best bet. It is meaty with a peculiar yeasty quality to the bold, runny paste.

Teleme

 

  Country: United States  
San Joaquin Gold

San Joaquin Gold
Modesto, CA, USA
Produced by Fiscalini Farmstead

This is the great American Grana. The cheese is salty and rich, with all the flavors of a good Parmigianino, played off a well-aged cheddar. The salty paste tastes almost like walnuts fried in butter.

 

  Country: United States  
Grayson

Grayson
Galax, Va, USA
Produced by Meadow Creek Dairy

The farmers at Meadow Creek have produced a truly astonishing cheese. They aimed for a Taleggio-style, but hit perhaps closer to a Trappist style. The cheese is big and beefy, with the strong aromatics of a washed rind, but still soft enough for anyone to enjoy. The color is a bold bright yellow, an indicator of the very high quality raw milk they coax from their Jersey cows. This will please the cheese initiate, and open the eyes of the novice.

 



 
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