Bittersweet Plantation Dairy is owned by renowned chef and restaurateur John Folse, and is located 20 miles east of Baton Rouge in Gonzales, Louisiana.
Creating artisanal cheese in the hot and humid Louisiana bayous can be quite a challenge, but John Folse and his cheesemaker, Michael Levy, create a variety of soft ripened cheeses that reflect local tradition and tastes.
Matt Summers is the dairy manager who oversees two full-time Bulgarian cheesemakers, Dimcho and Petrana Dimov, who are married and have 30 years of cheesemaking experience in Bulgaria. In collaboration with John Folse and Matt, they have been making the cheeses for the Bittersweet Cajun & Creole line and also some of their favorites from Bulgaria- Kashkaval and Feta.
Milk for cow's milk cheese production at Bittersweet comes from a milk processor. For production of the Fleur de Teche, cream is added to the whole cow's milk resulting in a triple cream cheese.
After coagulation, the first layer of curd is ladled into molds and a thin coat of ash is sprinkled on top, purely for decoration before a second layer of curd placed on top. The newly formed cheeses are allowed to drain naturally before being unmolded and transferred to an aging room for about 2 weeks where they develop a delicate thin mold on the rind.
Flavors of the Fleur de Teche are rich and buttery, with a distinct lemony tang. The texture is dense and yet soft and almost mousse-like.