Longmont, CO’s Haystack Mountain Creamery was providing Whole Foods Market with goat milk cheese, when the retailer’s vice president of specialty Cathy Strange reached out.
“Whole Foods had carried our goat’s milk cheese for a long time, but due to labor issues, stopped carrying it,” says Jackie Chang, who has served as Haystack Mountain Creamery’s head cheesemaker for 17 years. “Cathy reached out to ask if we could make a cow’s milk cheese for the stores.”
This request led to a taste test, then the creation of Cashmere in 2014, a double cream cow’s milk Brie with 60% butterfat. It is made with organic milk and double cream for a milder and light mushroomy flavor.
“In making this cheese, we added yeast to the milk and microbes grow later,” Chang says. “With exposure of oxygen, the bacterial mold grows.”
The disk-sized cheese has an earthy aroma with a nice buttery flavor.
“Cashmere is made with the highest quality organic cow’s milk,” she says. “It has a slightly sweet, mushroomy flavor and a velvety white rind that provides a delicate, tangy finish.”
She adds that Cashmere’s pillowy rind breaks down the fats and protein of the cheese, resulting in an increasingly creamy to runny texture over time. Cashmere has a 10-week shelf life.
Haystack Mountain Creamery’s lines are 90% goat milk. All of its cheeses are handmade.
“It is very labor intensive to make one batch of cheese,” Chang explains. “We only make small-batch cheeses, focusing on quality.”
Chang says Cashmere changes character as it ages, becoming mellower with a rich, runny cream layer underneath the rind as time goes on.
As for perfect pairings, Chang says some people prefer to eat Cashmere as a dessert in combination with raw sugar.
“It can be baked with nuts, served as an appetizer and is great with chardonnay or a malty beer,” she says. “It can take on a chocolate finish or even simulate a cheesecake.” This award-winning cheese, which won first place in the Open Category at the 2019 American Cheese Society Competition, is sold in King Super stores as well as Whole Foods stores across the country and smaller gift shops in Denver.