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Best Cheeses 2022: Mixed Milk

Photo by Nina Gallant | Styled by Kendra Smith

BAMBOOZLE (pictured above)
Goat Rodeo Farm & Dairy | Allison Park, Pa.

Like a trick by Willy Wonka, this multi-medalist possesses the magical ability to conjure an entire meal within a single bite. The second you sink your teeth into a supple slice of Bamboozle, your palate is pulled through a familiar succession of flavors: cultured butter, salty ham, freshly-baked bread— the perfect Jambon-Beurre. Milk from Goat Rodeo’s own herd of Alpine and Nubian goats is blended with cow’s milk from a neighboring family farm for an especially rich mouthfeel, balanced out by just the right amount of washed-rind funk. Bathed with local beer from Cinderlands Beer Company, this cheese is teeming with terroir. It tied for ACS Second Best of Show with Beecher’s Flagsheep.

Nettle Meadow Farm & Artisan Cheese | Thurman, N.Y.

GFA-winning Kunik is Nettle Meadow’s most-awarded creation for a reason—the combination of clean, flavorful goat’s milk and rich Jersey cow’s cream results in a cheese that is at once light and decadent. Flavors range from lemony crème fraîche to fresh button mushrooms, with a texture that grows more luscious and velvety with age. Nettle Meadow is celebrated not only for its artisan cheeses, but also for an exceptional commitment to animal welfare; in addition to working herds, the farm is home to well over 100 sanctuary animals.

Face Rock Creamery | Bandon, Ore.

This sweet, piquant sheep and cow’s milk cheddar, an ACS category winner, is evocative of an aged pecorino, with fruity and floral notes and a mouth-watering, peppery finish. Bright, grassy, and made seasonally in partnership with a nearby sheep dairy, Face 2 Face Cheddar celebrates the unique terroir of the lush Coquille River Valley, a historic dairying region just inland of the southern Oregon coast. Delicious shaved over salads and grilled vegetables, Face 2 Face is also perfect alongside a glass of prosecco after dinner.

Deer Creek Cheese / The Artisan Cheese Exchange | Sheboygan, Wis.

“Luxurious” is truly the most accurate way to describe the texture of the Indigo Bunting, which won Best USA Blue at ICDA. Sheep’s milk is fortified with cow’s cream for a dense, unbelievably creamy paste that becomes silken on the palate at room temperature. This blue is well-marbled, making it a stand-out on any cheese board, with sweet and toasty notes that make it an excellent candidate for dessert pairings like port or candied nuts.

Made in small batches in Vermont, this viscous nectar is somewhere between aged balsamic and pomegranate molasses, with notes of tart cherry, boozy raisins, and a hint of smokiness for a slightly savory finish.

Pennyroyal Farm | Boonville, Calif.

Pennyroyal Farm offers raw-milk Boont Corners tomme in three different age profiles; GFA-winning “Vintage” is right in the middle at five to seven months. Careful ripening brings out the sweetness of both the goat and sheep’s milk used to make this subtle yet complex cheese, bringing forth hints of caramel, stone fruit, and buttery pie crust. A rustic, natural rind lends an almost maritime minerality to this well-balanced wheel.

Note: because of the seasonal nature of the dairy at Pennyroyal Farm, this mixed-milk iteration is not available year-round; in the fall and winter, Boont Corners is made exclusively with goat’s milk.

Shooting Star Creamery | Paso Robles, Calif.

This sweet cheese has a sweet story to match. Avery Jones caught the cheesemaking bug from her father Reggie, co-owner of Central Coast Creamery, at a young age, and it wasn’t long before he helped her establish Shooting Star Creamery so that she could develop new recipes of her own. Since embarking on this ambitious endeavor, Avery has created three sheep’s milk cheeses (including Aries, which placed third at ACS in 2019), followed by Sagittarius, her new cow and sheep’s milk Gouda. Best in its class at this year’s WCCC, this smooth operator is milky and mellow, with warm tropical fruit aromas and notes of brown butter.

Carr Valley Cheese | La Valle, Wis.

Gran Canaria from Wisconsin’s Carr Valley Cheese has been awarded over and over for its truly distinct deliciousness, including Best USA Cheese at ICDA. Created by fourth-generation cheesemaker Sid Cook, this unique cheese is made with cow, goat, and sheep’s milk, cured in olive oil, and aged for a minimum of two years. The result is a pleasantly intense cheese with pronounced fruity flavors and a lingering sweetness.

Onetik | Macaye, France

Produced in the Pyrenees in South West France, a region best known for its sheep’s milk cheeses, this mixed-milk tomme brings a little something extra to the table (and brought home a Gold at WCA). Near its stony rind, aromatics lean toward clean hay, white pepper, and fresh oyster mushrooms, lending layers of earthy, umami dimension to this cheese’s nutty, buttered-toast flavor profile. A cool minerality enhances a firm, melt-in-your-mouth texture, allowing those complex goat and sheep’s milk flavors to linger and mingle for many delectable moments.

LaClare Creamery | Malone, Wis.

This cave-aged, cloth-wrapped beauty from LaClare Creamery has an almost fudge-like texture— ultra-smooth and satisfying to sink your teeth into. Made with 70 percent cow’s milk and 30 percent goat’s milk, all sourced from within 15 miles of the creamery, this true American original, which won Best of Class at WCCC, possesses qualities of both a bandaged cheddar and an aged gouda: a bit of fruity sweetness, a hint of horseradish, a splash of citrus, and a buttered finish.

Rodolphe Le Meunier | Tours, France

Another stunning goat and sheep’s milk blend from the French Basque region, iconic affineur Rodolphe Le Meunier’s Adarré, a Super Gold winner at WCA, serves up an especially savory array of flavors. Cut through its rustic, crust-like rind to reveal a pliant, aromatic paste offering notes of roasted hazelnut, grilled game, and wild herbs. Semi-firm and remarkably smooth, this full-bodied cheese can stand up to bold flavors, which opens up a world of pairing possibilities.

Adarré’s meaty backbone and nutty undertones make an ideal match for these buttery, briny olives.

Beecher’s Handmade Cheese | Seattle, Wash.

This mixed-milk sibling of Beecher’s Flagship Reserve is made just like the original— Flagsheep’s curds are salted and milled, molded into a drum, and bandaged with cloth before ripening—but the ability of sheep’s milk to retain moisture leads to a longer aging period and greater complexity. The ACS Second Best of Show (tied with Bamboozle), Flagsheep spends a total of 18 months in the aging cave, developing its mottled natural rind, dense, crumbly interior and notes of toasted nuts and butterscotch.

Dodoni SA | Epirus, Greece

Dodoni sources the sheep and goat’s milk for its WCA Gold award-winning Kefalotyri from farmers across the lush, mountainous Epirus region of northwestern Greece. Firm, dry, tangy, and a little salty, this traditional Greek cheese adds flavor to meat and vegetable dishes, grates beautifully over pasta, and of course, makes an excellent choice for saganaki.

Grupo Ganaderos de Fuerteventura, S.L. | Fuerteventura, Canary Islands

This dense, firm cheese from Spain’s Canary Islands is coated liberally in paprika for a boost of savory, peppery flavor. Made with both cow’s milk and Majorero goat’s milk, this Super Gold-winner at WCA is fairly mild and creamy with a sweet, slightly piquant goaty tang and a gentle smoky heat from the pimentón. Grupo Ganaderos de Fuerteventura has also been awarded for their PDO Majorero cheeses.

Queserías Entrepinares | Valladolid, Spain

Made with cow, sheep, and goat’s milk for a blend of richness and complexity, this mature, flavorful cheese from Queserías Entrepinares is undeniably snackable. Warm and fruity, with a toffee-like sweetness and a tiny bit of bite, La Reserva, a Super Gold-winner at WCA, is at home on the table alongside any meal, from coffee and toast to your Sunday roast.

Lilith Spencer

Lilith Spencer is the lifestyle editor at Jasper Hill Farm. Before moving up to Vermont, they served as a cheesemonger in western Massachusetts, New York City, and Santa Fe for nearly a decade, and won the San Francisco Cheesemonger Invitational in 2016. In their spare time, Lilith enjoys writing cheese parodies à la Weird Al. They have a miniature black-and-white dachshund named Greta who looks like a tiny Holstein and loves Willoughby.

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