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Best Cheeses 2019: Sheep’s Milk


Photographed by Nina Gallant; Styled by Erin Riley

ARIES

SHOOTING STAR CREAMERY

PASO ROBLES, CALIF.

Shooting Star Creamery’s debut cheese was a standout at this year’s American Cheese Society Judging and Competition, taking Third Place Best of Show. Having made cheese with her parents at their celebrated Central Coast Creamery, 15-year-old Avery Jones created her own company and the subsequent sheep’s milk Alpine-style cheese, Aries. Aged for eight months, Aries’ creamy mouth feel, bright pineapple notes, and earthy finish are a promising (and delicious) start to Shooting Star Creamery’s astrologically-named sheep’s milk creations.


PAŠKI SIR 

GLIGORA DAIRY

KOLAN, CROATIA

Hailing from the Croatian island of Pag, Paški sir, or Pag cheese, is made from the raw milk of the local island-grazing sheep. Savory and crumbly, aromatic with notes of herbs and farmhouse, Pag cheese is aged between 12 and 24 months and is produced in limited quantities. The island’s sheep produce milk yielding about 200 tons of cheese each year—enough to earn Pag the honor of Croatia’s most-awarded cheese.


ENGLISH PECORINO

WHITE LAKE CHEESE

SHEPTON MALLET, UK

English Pecorino began as a way to help a local sheep farmer who had lost a milk contract. Less salty than the Romano variety, its toffee and nut flavors are ascribed by producer Pete Humphries to the herd’s Somerset pastures. English Pecorino was White Lake’s third British Cheese Awards’ Supreme Champion in recent years.


SEVEN SISTERS

HIGH WEALD DAIRY

HORSTED KEYNES, UK

High Weald Dairy, based on England’s southern coast, coats the exterior of its semi-soft Seven Sisters sheep’s milk cheese in organic Hebridean seaweed sourced from the UK’s extreme north. The interplay of the light nuttiness of the ivory paste with the vegetal, fermented seaweed rind is complex (and moreish).


EWEREKA 

CENTRAL COAST CREAMERY

PASO ROBLES, CALIF.

Impeccable standards and passion for sheep’s milk cheese are at the core of Central Coast Creamery. Ewereka, handmade from local sheep’s milk and aged for only a few months in the cheddar style, has been snapping up awards since its debut at 2018’s American Cheese Society Judging and Competition. The richness of the sheep’s milk gives this cheddar a sweeter profile, yet balances brightness with notes of fresh grass and chives. Try dense, fudgy Ewereka with a crisp Saison or cider.


CAVE-AGED MARISA

CARR VALLEY CHEESE

LA VALLE, WIS.

Named after master cheesemaker Sid Cook’s daughter and made with local sheep’s milk, this aged version of Carr Valley’s mellow Marisa develops a mottled, dark gray rind after six months in the cave. The resulting cheese is earthy, tangy, and subtly sweet with a rich, butter-yellow paste that will take sandwiches and charcuterie boards to the next level.


ANABASQUE

LANDMARK CREAMERY PROVISIONS

PAOLI, WIS.

An Ossau-Iraty-inspired beauty with an apricot-hued washed rind, Anabasque is made with milk from Tews Ewes near Orfordville. Cave-aged for four to nine months, it has a slightly dry, nutty paste with hints of salt, fruit, and funk. Loves beer, charcuterie, and fresh or dried fruit.


ROUTE 66

SAGUARO CREAMERY/SALVATORE BKLYN

GLENDALE, ARIZ.

Route 66, an Arizona-made cheddar, took First Place in its category at the 2019 American Cheese Awards. Made from sheep’s milk sourced from a single herd outside Phoenix, Route 66 is produced by Saguaro Creamery before it heads to New York for ageing. Taking its name from the legendary highway connecting the East and West Coast, this cave-aged cheddar’s buttery texture and flavor make for a supremely snackable treat.


 

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