San Andreas

Made with Raw Sheep Milk & Vegetarian Suitable Cheese

Fellow cheese lovers, The Lady’s new cheese gig is just about the best thing that ever happened to this Feline Foodie. Second only to the day The Brain deployed me to Burbank to assume the command recently vacated when the Mighty Mike Tyson was called home to the Mothership. My cheese fridge runneth over. The Lady told me there were thousands of cheeses made around the world and every time she goes away… she returns with gifts… cheese, of course. I pray The Brain allows me time enough to taste every cheese known to man including Yak Milk cheese… The Man and I are lonely when she travels but upon her return we are blessed… it doesn’t get any better than this…

Hidden in her luggage, along with the Bayley Hazen Blue, was a wedge from the California farm where our good friend Lenny works: Bellwether Farms. They make Carmody, another perennial favorite around the manse. You can read my review here.

This time she brought home San Andreas, made using raw sheep milk. This farmstead cheese is as smooth as Frank Sinatra’s croon and as full-bodied as Marilyn Monroe… my small homage to the time when singers were singers and women still had curves… but I digress…

With each sheep milk cheese we taste, The Lady and I become more enamored and San Andreas doesn’t disappoint. It’s creamy and mild with just a hint of sour on the finish. It might be likened to a pecorino from the Tuscany region of Italy.

The Lady served this with Divina Halkidiki Olives sprinkled with Sicilian herbs and to know one’s surprise… The Man swooned…

I give Bellwether Farms San Andreas 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got.)

Serving Suggestions: As part of a cheese plate, all you need to add are a few olives and rustic bread.

Wine Pairing: I would suggest a new blended red.

Beer Pairing: A blonde ale might make an interesting pairing.

Awards: 2007 ACS – Second in Class

Editorial Note: You can expect more 4 Paw ratings that I normally award. The Lady’s new job is exposing her to the crème de la crème of cheese… stay tuned… it’ll only get better…

Vegetarian- Suitable and made from Certified Agricultural Products

The Lady met Cowgirl Creamery Proprietors, Sue Conley and Peggy Smith at the 2010 ACS Cheese-a-topia in Seattle and has long wanted to taste their Signature Cheese, Mt. Tam.

In her clandestine visits to the competition (think: spying) she bought a round of this Award-Winning cheese and brought it home for The Man and your favorite Feline Foodie (that would be me) to taste and share our notes…

Mt. Tam, named after Mt. Tamalpais just north of the San Francisco Bay, this ten ounce mini-wheel  is a smooth and creamy cheese that is buttery with just a whiff of fresh, earthy mushrooms. Its mellow after taste lingers on the palate long-after, prolonging the enjoyment.

Mt. Tam is made using organic milk from the Straus Family Creamery, the only California producer that runs both and organic dairy and creamery. Their products are used by Award-Winning restaurants, Chez Panisse and The French Laundry.

The Lady served this delightful triple cream with a freshly baked French Baguette and spoonfuls of Raspberry Jam made by my new best bud, Becky.

My cheese life just doesn’t get any better than this…

I give Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam 4 Paws out of 4 Paws cause that’s all I’ve got…

Serving Suggestions: Keep it simple. This cheese deserves to be the centerpiece and doesn’t need much to make it a perfect cheese course. A few nuts and a little jam with warm bread and you’ve got it.

Wine Pairing: California’s J Vineyard Vintage Brut Sparkling Wine

Beer Pairing:  California’s North Coast Brewing Company’s Acme IPA

Awards: Many including 2nd Place American Cheese Society 2009

Humboldt Made is a series of segments featuring the entrepreneurs of Humboldt County, showcasing its beauty and world class products.

This segment features Mary Keehn of Cypress Grove Chevre. Directed & Produced by Maria Matteoli. Director of Photography: Kenneth Thomas. Music by Maria Matteoli. FilmHumboldt. humboldtmade.com

I have often mentioned The Man’s BFF, Gary… and in this case it really is BFF – they have been friends for fifty years – now that’s what this Feline Foodie calls a life-long friend. They are lucky to have been friends for so long…

Gary currently is on a journey to find the perfect smoked cheese, a journey that has been facilitated on occasion by The Lady. She has sent him the wonderful Goudas from Washington State’s Appel Farms which she sells on the cheese island. He sent her a slice of Maple Leaf Smoked Gouda that he picked up last year on a trip that included a stop at the Rogue Creamery in Central Point, Oregon.

Another journey that Gary and his lovely bride, Nancy, enjoy is exploring the local Farmer’s Market of SoCal where they have lived most of their lives. Nancy is an HR Guru, well-known in her field, and sometimes her career has taken them to other parts of the States but like the swallows, they always return to the warm climes of the Southern Left Coast.

Recently Gary and Nancy were exploring the Irvine Farmer’s Market, which is located just across the street from the campus of UC Irvine and Gary came across a smoked Jack that caught his eye and he bought a wedge.  Gary sent her a picture he took of the cheese in its packaging and his thoughts. Before we post his review here, The Lady and I decided to explore and find out what we could about Fagundes and we were quite impressed. Gary, you made an excellent choice.

The Fagundes Family Farm is located in Hanford, California and their farmstead cheeses are handcrafted using Old-World methods and recipes that they brought from the Azores in 1886. In 1916 John Fagundes II bought the home ranch and established a dairy. In 1999, after a visit back to Larale on Sao Jorge Island, with the help of the Portuguese people on the island, the family re-established the farmstead cheese making business.

The Fagundes family ages their cheeses naturally from rBST and rGBH- free milk from their herd located on the same land where the cheese is made. Two of their cheeses are made using raw milk.

Since 2000, the Fagundes Old-World Cheese have won more than 160 awards with 2008 being the best award-winning year when their cheeses won 22 awards in that year alone.

Now for Gary’s review:

I opened this cheese and proceeded to grate it for making omelets, etc.  The dark color was all on the outside of the wedge and the inside was a creamy white.  I guess that the smoking of the cheese takes place after the cheese is made.  Of course grating it resulted in it all being mixed up.  When I have used the cheese, it has a profound smokey flavor.  It is excellent in an omelet with mushrooms or with arugula!  I have gotten to where I prefer an omelet with cheese and one other ingredient at most.  Since I always have a sauce over the top, it’s not good to have too many flavors slapped together.”

Since this Feline Foodie has not actually tasted this cheese, I cannot give it my usual Paws endorsement, but I think we can assume that Gary gives it two thumbs up. I will not add pairings information for the same reason.

Source: Happy Cow’s Milk