Childhood memories of local cheeses made in the Savoie region of the French Alps were a strong pull for Carine Goldin of Goldin Artisan Cheese, headquartered in Molalla, OR. Her formative years spent there with her cheese-loving grandmother, nearby dairy farms and creameries making local favorites like Tomme de Savoie, Raclette and Tome des Bauges stoked a taste for interesting, full-flavored cheese.
It may be surprising to some that Aspen, CO-based Avalanche Cheese’s much lauded Hand Bandaged Goat Cheddar was inspired by not just traditional English Cheddars, but also Scottish cheesemakers.
Yet, it was 2006, the year Wendy Mitchell, the dairy’s co-founder and head cheesemaker spent living in Edinburgh, Scotland that served as the inspiration for this cheese.
A person’s first taste of lamb can be one of those great palate-changers, a moment when you realize there is a lot more for dinner than the same old steak. Fresh lamb shank, leg or loin has an earthy richness and complexity that can make a lot of beef and pork seem ho-hum by comparison.
Some rookies are introduced to lamb in the form of a rack or chop at white tablecloth establishments. Others have devoured a gyro with Feta or a curry dish at an Indian eatery without ever noticing that the craveable meat is lamb.
Fresh Goat cheese and truffles. What a fabulous idea. Like bread and chocolate, wine and roses, it would make a beautiful coupling. Mary Keehn, proprietress of Cypress Grove Chevre, just knew it. “Once we had sourced a steady supply of truffles we went about making it. We were all so excited to try it. Goat cheese and truffles. How could it not be yummy?”
Until she took a taste.
Great pairings begin with great cheese. Great cheese sings, in both hushed and booming notes, enchanting us with its aesthetic, texture and flavor. A condiment plays a supporting role — it can help reveal what is already there, enhancing or adorning an existing characteristic. Occasionally a pairing makes something new and different, a third taste — a flavor that isn’t the cheese and isn’t the condiment but what emerges from the union of the two.
THERE’S A CHINESE PROVERB ABOUT A JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND MILES THAT BEGINS WITH A SINGLE STEP. In this case, one young woman’s travels in France inspired the birth of Vermont Creamery, an iconic cheese company that helped shape America’s palate for goat cheese and cultured dairy products.