It is rare indeed that a dog began a dairy, but that is exactly what happened in the case of Everona Dairy. At a Food Festival in 1992, the late Dr. Patricia (Pat) Elliot came upon a demonstration of the skills of Border Collies and was so impressed, she took a puppy home with her. Soon it became obvious that the dog needed something to keep occupied, and what is the best thing to keep a Border Collie occupied? Sheep. So, sheep were purchased and in time began to drain the good doctor’s bank account. In an effort to have the sheep pay for themselves, Dr. Elliot began milking them with a view to developing a cheesemaking operation.
Whereas some people might be daunted by the prospect of taking on an additional new cheesemaking career with no previous knowledge of sheep or making cheese, Dr. Elliot was undeterred. A medical doctor who had raised seven children and adopted two others, while simultaneously putting herself through medical school, she was well equipped with the determination to teach herself how to make cheese. Pat was also a life-long DIYer and, after reading books on the topic, at age 67 took classes at the University of Wisconsin to learn the scientific side of cheese making.
By 1996, she had also travelled to Greece for further education. While it took a long time to reach the skill-level necessary to produce great cheese, in 2005 the ACS awarded Everona‘s Piedmont with its top honors in the Farmhouse Sheep’s milk cheese category. Until her death in 2013 at age 85, Dr. Elliot continued to practice medicine as well as helping to run the Dairy with her son, Brian, and daughter-in-law, Carolyn.
Using Piedmont as the base cheese for this riff on the original, Garlic is a raw milk cheese produced in limited quantities, and only periodically. It has a light orange rind, the product of washes in a brine solution, covering a pale cream-colored paste with small eyes sprinkled throughout. The number pressed into its side is the batch number that the cheese was produced in. With Piedmont at its core, Garlic has a nutty sweetness that underlies the intense garlic flavor. It has a rich semi-firm to firm texture.
With the intense garlic flavor of this cheese, big, bold red wines with firm tannins are best. Try it with Spanish Rioja or Italian reds that use Tempranillo grapes or a good Cabernet Sauvignon. Darker beers such as stouts are highly recommended as well. This is the cheese to cook with if you like garlic. So, whether it is melted over ripe tomatoes and arugula on an open faced sandwich, into a béchamel sauce for garlic Mac n’ Cheese, or mixed with Mozzarella on top of pizza, it adds that extra punch.