2019 was quite the year—especially when it came to our cheese centerfold stars. Reminisce on the four special cheeses that took center stage in our magazines last year.
Everton Premium Reserve
Flaky. Spicy. Sharp. These are just a few of the words experts have used to describe these extra-aged wheels from Indiana’s Jacobs and Brichford Farmstead Cheese. Crafted from the raw milk of grass-fed Jersey, Normandy, and Tarentaise cows, select wheels of Everton—an Alpine style with similarities to Beaufort PDO—are aged 10 or more additional months to produce a dry, craggy texture and an extraordinarily bold flavor. Everton Premium Reserve was one of only nine American cheeses to win a Super Gold at the 2018 World Cheese Awards in Bergen, Norway (there were 78 Super Golds total), and it also netted a Best of Class at the 2017 United States Championship Cheese Contest. Watch out, Europe.
Little Lucy Brie
Who says bodacious bloomy rinds are only for cold weather months? Not us, especially when we’re talking about this sultry, single serving–size brie from Minnesota’s Redhead Creamery. Rich and compact, Little Lucy Brie is made from the milk of Holstein and Brown Swiss cows—but they aren’t any old bovines.Redhead Creamery owner Alise Sjostrom runs her operation on her parents’ farm, piping the milk directly from the parlor to the cheese plant on make days (yep, this cheese is farmstead). It’s a family affair, and to top it off, Little Lucy Brie is named after Sjostrom’s daughter.
This washed-rind wheel is rustling up plenty of accolades. When it debuted in 2015, it nabbed a bronze medal at the World Cheese Awards. Two years later, it won Best Modern British Cheese at the British Cheese Awards. And this past May, Sheep Rustler was awarded Best Sheep Cheese at the British Cheese Awards. Talk about buzzworthy. The decorated round is crafted by written by UK producer White Lake, but it’s not a complete original—it’s the ewe’s milk version of Rachel, White Lake’s lauded goat’s milk wheel (named, among many honors, Best Goat Cheese at the 2018 World Cheese Awards). A White Lake cheesemaker named Russell crafted the first batch of Sheep Rustler, hence its name.
What happens when you take a flagship cheese and roll it in hay? If you’re Jasper Hill Farm, you win awards. After netting Best of Show first runner-up at the 2018 American Cheese Society Judging and Competition, demand for Calderwood soared (Jasper Hill also secured Best of Show that year with Harbison). Calderwood begins as Alpha Tolman, a raw-milk Alpine written by style, and its transformation starts when the rind is washed with brine and pressed with toasted, shredded hay—but it’s not any old hay. Jasper Hill Farm was the first in the nation to build an Italian-style hay-drying facility, which allows their cows to be grass-fed year-round, even in Vermont’s rainy climate. This same hay is used to coat wheels of Calderwood. By doubling down on the terroir, Jasper Hill’s taste of place is compounded in the nutty, complex cheese.