Made at Major Farms near Putney, Vermont, Ricotta Lana is named after cheesemaker David Major’s youngest daughter.
David bought the farm from his parents and was among the first small-scale cheesemakers in the United States to begin producing sheep's milk cheese back in 1990.
At the time, because there was no template or model for such an operation, the early days proved quite difficult, and in David's own words they discarded a great deal of cheese. However, after a visit to France, he became inspired to make sheep's milk cheese along the lines of those made in the French Pyrenées.
Today, David makes two types of aged cheese in addition to Ricotta Lana; the original cheese called Vermont Shepherd which is made from 100% sheep's milk and a relatively new creation called Queso del Invierno, made from a blend of sheep and cow’s milk.
Ricotta Lana is made as a by-product from re-heated and pasteurized whey left over from production of Vermont Shepherd.
Although some Ricotta Lana is sold in containers, the majority is pressed using colander shaped forms into distinctly shaped wheels – the identical shape used for the aged cheeses.
Although the recipe for Ricotta Lana is based on the Italian Ricotta Salata and Lana has a drier texture than most fresh ricottas, it is not as dry or firm as Ricotta Salata. Lana has a deep concentration of rich, sweet and delicate flavors that make it really delicious.
Ricotta Lana lends itself to numerous serving and cooking applications from lasagna or a salad to just a drizzle of honey on top of crusty bread.