American Cheese Pagent

by Jeanne

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"The new American cheese signifies a shift in how we produce food and how we eat it."    Laura Werlin, author and cheese expert

As a child of the 70s and an offspring of a very activist-oriented mother I’m not one for beauty pageants.  But here’s one I know you’ll want to participate in.

The good folks over at IGourmet.com have generously gathered cheese and dairy showings from every state in the Grand Ole US of A.  Pulling together cheeses and butters from our fifty great states for us to learn and of course, purchase.

And what a selection!  The personality of the cheesemakers’ personalities shine in many of them:  Hawaii’s Surfing Goat and their "Diabolic" (8 oz, $24.99) a disk of "aged chevre marinated in olive oil flavored with exotic ingredients like jalapeños, Thai dragon chilies, Bhudda Hand citron, Malabar peppercorns, and garlic."  Or, Florida’s Queso d’Hoja by Sanchelima Dairy a farmer’s cheese very similar to one found in Puerto Rico or Cuba, (10 oz; $5.99).  My home state of Massachusetts shows us a Berkshire Blue from (1 lb., $17.99) made by one person who does it all "hand-stirred, hand-ladled and manually turned, resulting in an exceptionally creamy, smooth blue" much like blue made by the Willet Farm Dairy in Somerset, England where they borrowed the recipe. From Alaska, is Windsong Farm producers of Great Bear Cheddar (8oz, $13.99) where they cure them in vats of beer crafted by another Alaskan producer, the Great Bear Brewing Company of Wasilla (the northernmost brew pub in America)."

The choices are tough but what I don’t understand is the California choice of a Brie en Croute.  We have many high-quality artisan cheesemakers and this is our showing?  And why does Wisconsin have 22 entries–I need to speak to the judges! Yes, yes so you are located in Wisconsin. Well, I do have to say that the Cocoa Cardona, 100% Goat milk, aged and rubbed with cocoa looks delightful. Oh really, you don’t say, Cocoa Cardona won 2003 1st Best of Class in the US cheese Contest. Well she’s certainly a flirt.

So take a look for yourself and cast your ballot for this pagent’s queen, it’s a  perfect celebration of America.

Image: Igourmet.com

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