Calling all allium lovers: This cheddar packs a punch with its potent garlic flavor.
It hails from Oregon's Face Rock Creamery, which is set in one of the oldest cheesemaking areas on the West Coast. As early as the 1880s, cheese was being made in the many dairy farms in the Coquille Valley to the east of the town, and in 1936 the Bandon Cheese Factory was founded. The son of the factory’s founder, Brad Sinko, took over and ran it until 2003 when it was bought out by a larger competitor. Sinko then spent 10 years as the head cheesemaker Beecher’s Handmade Cheese in Seattle and New York.
While Sinko was making cheddars in Seattle, the Bandon Cheese Factory was abandoned and torn down by the company that had purchased it. Locals in the town were disappointed to see a gravel pit where the Bandon Cheese Factory once stood. Working alongside the community, some local developers decided to rebuild a structure that would host not only a 9,000 sq. foot creamery, but also a 2,000 sq. foot well retail space and cafe. Today cheese is being made in Bandon once again in this location, and Brad Sinko has returned as head cheesemaker. The name ‘Face Rock’ refers to a local monolithic formation on the Oregon coast that resembles a face looking up at the sky.
Face Rock sources its milk from The Scolari Family Dairy in Coquille, only 15 miles away. The farm has been owned by the same family since the early 1930s, and today has a herd of Holstein and Brown Swiss cows.
Vampire Slayer is a garlic-infused cheddar that’s formed into 40-pound blocks and aged for at least four months in a plastic coating.
This cheddar is salty and savory with low acidity. Its lingering allium notes are layered, reminiscent of raw garlic, roasted garlic and garlic chives all at once.
Vampire Slayer lends itself well to cooking, adding an extra layer of flavor to sandwiches, pasta or a gratin. Pair it with a riesling or with a hefeweizen.