It’s almost July 4th! As proud cheese-lovin’ Americans, we’re celebrating Independence Day with all our favorite American-made cheeses. We’re passionate about changing the perception of American cheeses- no longer just individually wrapped, artificially orange, slices of processed cheese, but high-quality, artisan-made cheeses that rival ones made by our friends across the pond.
Here the three best American cheeses and makers that you can find on the market and at BKLYN Larder.
(Photo from Milton Creamery)
1.) Prairie Breeze by Milton Creamery
The number one spot is no surprise. Prairie Breeze is a staff and customer favorite; it even placed third on our list of top ten cheeses sold in 2018! It’s popular with good reason: made in Iowa by Milton creamery (a family business focused on bringing jobs to Southeast Iowa)- their take on a well-aged white cheddar. Aged for about nine months, the Prairie Breeze is made with Cow’s milk sourced from small, local Amish dairy farms (the creamery was originally a joint venture between the Musser family and their Amish neighbors). The resulting cheese is creamy, nutty, a little sharp, with pleasant protein crystals (formed during the aging process) embedded throughout.
Best eaten in cubes as a salty snack, perhaps with a smear of BRINS Chili Pepper jam and some thin slices of Toscano. Otherwise best eaten hot, melted, and gooey in a classic grilled cheese.
(Photo from Parish Hill Creamery)
2.) Cornerstone by Parish Hill Creamery
Cornerstone was brought in at the request of our proprietor, Mandy Wynn. Both Mandy and our purchasing manager, Amada Popko, tried the Cornerstone and immediately fell in love- Mandy with its unique, addictive taste and Amanda with the story behind the creamery and cheese. Named for its square shape and stoney-textured rind (it looks exactly like a cornerstone!), this cheese is somehow hard and creamy-soft all at one (yes, it’s one of those magical cheeses). It’s buttery and yogurty, with the slightest hint of tangy-funk. Made by Parish Hill Creamery (a creamery focused on making cheese the whey things were done before industrialization: with in-house milk, cultures, and rennet), the Cornerstone is a product of the larger Cornerstone project: a collaborative effort by American cheesemakers to develop a new “American Original”- a cheese that isn’t the property of one single cheesemaker (think Jack, Muenster, Swiss, etc).
The Cornerstone Project asked three inaugural cheesemakers (Parish Hill Creamery, Cato Corner Farm, and Birchrun Hills Farm) follow a recipe, using raw milk from their own herd (or nearest single herd), their own starter cultures from said milk, and salt harvested from the nearest location possible, and encouraging a natural rind. Three cheese made with the same recipe, but in different environments and source material!
Best eaten in thin slices, perhaps paired with similarly-thin slices of apple. We also suggest having roasted almonds nearby- a little sweet, fruity, creamy, and nutty all in one plate.
(Photo from Crown Finish Caves)
3.) Goatlet by Consider Bardwell Farm and Crown Finish Caves
Last but not least, the ever-beautiful Goatlet made by Consider Bardwell Farm in Vermont and aged by our friends at Crown Finish Caves, located right here in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. A mixed milk (20% raw Goat’s milk and 80% raw Cow’s milk) take on the award winning Pawlet cheese, Goatlet is yogurty and tangy, with delightful notes of lemon cream pie. It’s made with goat’s milk direct from Consider Bardwell’s farm in Vermont and aged for 4-5 months at Crown Finish Caves. Goatlet is the 1st place winner of the 2017 American Cheese Society Conference.
If you’re a Brooklynite and don’t yet know about Crown Finish Caves- you’re truly missing out! CFC is a cheese-aging (or affinage) facility located in the former lagering tunnels of the Nassau Brewery in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Thirty feet below the urban, bustling streets of Crown Heights are beautifully aged tunnels that are the perfect temperature for aging all sorts of cheeses. It’s quite magical inside the tunnels; seeing rows and rows of cheeses underground in Brooklyn is a sure treat. If you haven’t yet read up on our trip to CFC in 2017, read up here! Plus, CFC has music nights every month in their caves. If you’re interested, find out about their events here.