Each package of cheese made at this upstate N.Y.-based farmstead creamery is adorned with a sketch of a bicycle, hinting at founder Alan Glustoff’s philosophy: bike travel, like cheesemaking, requires a constant, fine-tuned sense of one’s surroundings, as well as a flair for adventure and willingness to forge ahead into the unknown. Also: cheese-fueled biking is a nice way to burn those calories.
It was that very attitude that drew the former Pennsylvanian to a 100-year-old dairy farm in Goshen, which he purchased and rebuilt alongside his wife, Barbara. The duo now make cheese with respect for the local terroir and environment, using raw farmstead milk from Holstein cows in an energy-efficient operation completely fueled by solar power.
Like several other 5 Spoke cheeses, Tumbleweed is simultaneously cheddar-esque and Cantal-esque—but in this case, a full year of aging takes flavor to the next level, its paste yielding visible faultlines and a crumbly texture. Formed into smaller blocks of 10 lbs, wedges are sold with a mottled rind intact, adding an earthy dimension to flavor.
Aromas are heady: butterscotch, roses and basement towards the exterior, berries and fruit in the paste. Mouth-coating on the palate, flavors rush in quickly with echoes of roasted onion tart, and finish slowly with lingering hints of chocolate cake.
Pair it with a bold Tempranillo, or serve alongside honey with a touch of balsamic vinegar—plus fresh figs, when available.