Eponymously named Chapel Hill Creamery is located near Chapel Hill in North Carolina and is home to Portia McKnight and Flo Hawley together with their small herd of Jersey cows.
Hawley and McKnight had each enjoyed long careers at Whole Foods Market and decided they wanted to get closer to the source of the food that they had sold. In the process of searching for a good milk source in order to begin making cheese, they found that they were unable to get the quality that they wanted. So, the decision was made to buy a small herd of Jersey cows and a 37-acre farm to ensure that the cows could be pasture-fed. Thus was born Chapel Hill Creamery and, in July of 2000, the first batch of cheese was produced.
Today, Portia and Flo focus on the health of their herd of 30 cows as much as the quality of the cheese that they produce. Rotational grazing is practiced on the farm and they limit milking to March through December. The results are hard to argue with, three World Jersey Cheese Awards in 2012.
Calvander is a Jersey cow’s milk cheese inspired by Asiago that was named after a crossroads that is well known in the Chapel Hill area. It is the condensed name of a 19th century schoolteacher who built a school at the intersection. Calvander, the cheese, is aged for 7 months. During its sleep in the aging facility, it develops a natural rind with a leathery texture. This rind covers an assertive, flakey paste with balanced flavors of butter, herbs and walnuts with a piquant tang. As it ages, it becomes increasingly spicy and firm.
This is a cheese that really pairs well with bolder red wines such as a Chianti Superiore or reds with a touch of earthiness such as Merlot. It is a great cheese to grate over pasta or flake off pieces to enjoy with fresh melon.