Black Butte Reserve: Made by the pasture-based Pedrozo Dairy and Cheese Company in Orland, CA, this cheese is made only from the tasty spring milk. This is basically an aged Boerenkaas Gouda. Made with raw cow milk. Farmstead.
Brick: From Master-cheesemaker Joe Widmer in Teresa, WI. This is a semi-soft, stinky cow’s milk cheese very popular with ethnic German communities and my father.
Cameo: This is a bigger version of the Camellia, a soft-ripened, goat cheese from Redwood Hill Farm in Sebastopol, CA. The first person who can sing a good version of “Word Up” by Cameo (the band) gets a free wheel. (This offer only valid in Olympia and Portland because the cheese won’t arrive until then)
Cocoa Cardona: Made by Carr Valley Cheese in Wisconsin, this is a semi-soft goat cheese covered in cocoa. This would make a good drag name.
Gran Canaria: Some cheese snobs look down on (third generation cheesemaker) Sid Cook’s Carr Valley cheeses because he makes so damn many of them. Sid Cook meanwhile, has probably developed a new cheese in the time it is taking you to read this paragraph. Carr Valley makes well over fifty different varieties using cow, sheep and/or goat milk. The Gran Canaria won the best of show at that 2004 American Cheese Society Conference in Milwaukee and it is a blend of cow, sheep, and goat milk, aged for two years and cured in olive oil.
Green Hill: From Sweet Grass Dairy in Thomasville, Georgia, this is one of the best brie-style cheeses made in the US. Pasture-based and, while not farmstead, they buy their milk from their father/father-in-law who lives next door. This is from cow milk, but they make great goat cheese too.
Mobay: Another cheese from Carr Valley, this has goat cheese and sheep cheese separated by a layer of ash. Cute, eh?
Mona: From the Wisconsin Sheep Dairy Co-op, this is actually a blend of cow and sheep milk. Nutty, sweet, and milky. You gotta support the co-ops in this business.
Prairie Breeze: Great sweet, aged cheddar from Milton, Iowa. Made with milk purchased from the local Amish communities, this cheese won a best in category at the American Cheese Society competition the first year it was entered.
Teleme: Franklin Peluso is the third generation cheesemaker of this California classic. I worked an event for Franklin once and was amazed. Every Italian-American coming up to the booth and a few years older than I am said almost the exact same thing, “Teleme! I grew up on this stuff!” Wanna-be cheese snobs will not be impressed by this because it is not strong in any way. But what it does have is integrity and presence. I always have a quarter wheel in my fridge.
Verdant Blue: Pasture-based blue cheese. The milk comes from the Wisconsin Grazier Co-op, a small group of pasture-based farmers and is made in Minnesota at Fairbault Dairy. Fairbault brags about being the only cheesemakers in the US who age their cheese in natural sandstone caves.
Different cheese, different nights, of course. See why you should come to a reading?