This August 7-9, prepare yourself for a cheesy musical odyssey the likes of which you’ll be jazzed to hear about—culture: the word on cheese is partnering with Napa Valley winery Long Meadow Ranch to bring you Cheese Lands, your one-stop shop for cheesy treats at this year’s Outside Lands Music Festival in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park! Each week until the event itself, we’ll dive deep into the six cheese and charcuterie plates we’ll have for sale; take a look at our main page for the full menu.
For those of you attending Outside Lands Music Festival (starting TOMORROW!), we expect most of your weekend will be spent dancing away to the music stylings of Elton John, Mumford and Sons, and Sam Smith. But if you’re feet are in need of a break, bring them on over to Cheese Lands and treat yourself to our Cheesemonger’s Pick Plate.
First up on the cheese plate is Cypress Grove Chevre’s Truffle Tremor, a goat’s milk cheese studded with small, delicate pieces of black truffle. Located in Humboldt County in Northern California, Cypress Grove Chevre began during the 1970s when the company’s founder, Mary Keehn, became interested in Alpine dairy goats while searching for a healthy source of milk for her young daughters. This resulted in the acquisition of two goats, and from this small start she quickly developed a passion for breeding high-quality Alpine goats. Within a few years, the size of Mary’s herd increased significantly and, finding herself with excess goat milk, she started experimenting with cheesemaking. The rest is history! Mary’s Truffle Tremor oozes umami, with rich, earthy truffle combined with creamy notes of goat’s milk. While some might shy away from truffles, the meticulous balance of flavors shows off the truffles without them being overly assertive. As the cheese matures, the paste becomes softer just under the rind, resulting in a more herbaceous cheese.
Our next cheese comes to us from Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese, located just one hour north of San Francisco. The Giacomini family, owners of PRFC, are third-generation dairy farmers who began their journey in 1959 when Bob Giacomini began milking cows on his Point Reyes dairy. Over the years, Bob, his wife Dean, and their four daughters, Karen, Diana, Lynn and Jill, developed a shared vision of producing an all-natural farmstead cheese. In August, 2000, they founded Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company and produced the first vat of their now famous Original Blue. For their Toma cheese, milk from their own closed herd of Holstein cows is pasteurized, and after the curd is formed and cut, a traditional gouda technique is used to wash the curds with water, thus slowing down the acidification process. The curds are then drained, placed into gouda-shaped cheese molds, and pressed before being unmolded and allowed to sit in a brine solution for two days. The result is a firm cheese with rich, buttery, and grassy flavors that ends with a slight tang.
Coming to us from Laura Chenel’s Chevre in Sonoma County, Calif., Cabecou is a goat cheese button that’s aged for 5-10 days, then placed in a marinade before a rind develops. The “aging” process continues in the jar, as buttons absorb the flavors of the savory herbs while they marinate in a mixture of organic canola oil and California extra virgin olive oil. Cabecou’s flavor is characterized by the herbs in the jar, along with the mild yet creamy and tart flavor of the goat’s milk. Salty and sharp, Cabecou brings to mind olives and garlic.
Established in 1939 by Paolo Sartori, Sartori Cheese Company is a fourth-generation family-owned business based in Plymouth, Wisc. Primarily renowned for their production of hard and Italian-style cheeses, the company sources milk from local family farms within a close radius to their production facilities. With the purchase of a Cheesemonger’s Pick Plate, guests will be able to taste one of Sartori’s most acclaimed cheeses, their SarVecchio Parmesan. Subtle flavors of fruit that are relieved with richer, caramel notes of toasted nuts and brown butter characterize this delicious cheese. The texture is slightly softer than most grating cheeses.
Le Jeaune Autise | Rodolphe Le Meuniere | France
Deep in the Loire Valley of France works Rodolphe Le Meunier, winner of the 2007 titles of Best Cheesemonger of France and World’s Best Cheesemonger at the International Caseus Award. A third-generation cheesemonger, Le Meunier’s is one of the most widely known cheesemongers in the world, having worked in the United States, Japan, and South America. At this year’s Outside Lands, guests will be able to taste Le Meuniere’s Le Jeaune Autise, a Morbier-style goat’s milk cheese with a line of ash running down the center. This semi-firm cheese has some Alpine sweetness to it, coupled with just the right bit of funk.
Feature Photo Credit: Cypress Grove Chevre