Set in the shade of the Cumberland Plateau outside Chattanooga, Tennessee, Sequatchie Cove Creamery is a family-run business owned and operated by Nathan and Padgett Arnold and a small team of devoted turophiles. The focus here is on expressing the local southeastern Tennessee terroir, as well as sustainability; the 100% solar-powered creamery's most substantial waste product, whey, is fed back to the farm's livestock.
Cheese is made at Sequatchie Cove every day using fresh raw cow's milk produced on the 300-acre farm. Dairy and herd manager Randall Tomlinson tends to an 80-plus head herd of dairy cows, predominantly Jersey and Jersey-Holstein crosses. As cows forage, Tomlinson and his crew busily oversee pasture health, milk quality, genetics, on-farm breeding, calving, and milking equipment.
Shakerag Blue is a blue cheese wrapped in local fig leaves that have been soaked in Chattanooga Whiskey. “We are trying to develop a southern take on leaf-wrapped blue cheese,” says co-owner Padgett Arnold, “with the incorporation of the fig leaves that thrive in a southern climate and the Chattanooga Whiskey with its aroma. We are trying to create flavors that truly reflect this part of the country.” The whiskey-soaked fig leaves impart aroma and flavor to the cheese, helping to seal in moisture and create a creamy yet crumbly texture.
This cheese, with its gorgeous and dense dark blue veining, has a crumbly and slightly grainy texture speckled with crunchy protein crystals. Taste is at once bright and salty and rich and creamy, with a pucker-inducing bite at the finish. There are notes of buttermilk, funk, fermented cream, pine and grass.
Pair it with a malty beer, or with Chattanooga Whiskey.