Last month’s American Cheese Society Conference in Madison, Wis., saw the return of its annual competition and a good showing by several Missouri cheese makers.
By LINCOLN BROADBOOKS
More than 250 companies from around the U.S. and Canada submitted 1,794 cheeses in 20 different categories. The cheeses are evaluated aesthetically and technically by some of the biggest and most notable names in the cheese world. So winning these awards is nothing to scoff at.
Kansas City is lucky to have several good artisanal cheese makers in the Missouri — Come on Kansas let’s get our act together!
But seriously there are some good Kansas cheese makers that simply have not yet garnered the attention that their Missouri counterparts have achieved this year.
Many of these award-winning cheeses are available around town. The cheeses below cover many different categories and are made from sheep, goat or cow’s milk. I have had the pleasure of trying all of these cheeses except for one and they are all great cheeses.
Three of my favorites are Dirt Lover from Green Dirt Farm in Weston, Bloomsdale from Baetje Farms in Bloomsdale, Mo., and Flory’s Truckle from Homestead Creamery in Jamesport, Mo.
Dirt Lover from Green Dirt Farm has quite a following around town. It is a small, soft-ripened sheep’s milk cheese that is covered in vegetable ash when young, making it jet black. As the cheese ages, a soft, fluffy, white mold rind is formed until only hints of the black ash are seen.
Bloomsdale from Baetje Farm is a cheese that has seen a lot of recognition nationally and internationally. It is a small, pyramid-shaped, soft ripened goat’s milk cheese that is rolled in ash and salt. As the cheese ripens a white mold forms a rind on the cheese. When it is young, the flavor and texture is creamy, mild and tangy. But as it ages, the cheese becomes runny and hints of blue flavors start to emerge. Over the last couple years Bloomsdale has won gold at the World Cheese Awards.
Flory’s Truckle from Homestead Creamery is one of my favorites right now — as I have mentioned before. It is a traditional farmhouse cheddar made from raw jersey cows milk. A farmhouse cheddar is characterized by being rubbed in lard or butter and then wrapped in cheesecloth, cloth-bound or bandage-wrapped. This cloth protects the cheese as it ages but also produces a dryer cheese.
Seek out these Missouri award winners. The artisan quality displayed in these cheeses deserves to be honored by Kansas City. Check out all of the American Cheese Society winners from Missouri below.
• Baetje Farms’ Coeur du Clos, Second Place, Open Category: Soft-Ripened Cheeses Made from Sheep’s or Mixed Milks.
• Homestead Creamery’s Flory’s Truckle, Second Place, Cheddar Wrapped in Cloth, Linen and Aged Over 12 months — All Milks.
• Baetje Farms’ Coeur de la Creme — Herb de Provence, First Place, Fresh Goat Cheese with Flavor Added — 100 percent Goat’s Milk.
• Baetje Farm’s Coeur de la Creme — Garlic and Chive, Third Place, Fresh Goat Cheese with Flavor Added — 100 percent Goat’s Milk.
• Heartland Creamery’s Fine Herb Meunster, First Place, Open Category: Cheeses with Flavor Added — All Milks and Mixed Milks.
• Baetje Farm’s Bloomsdale, Second Place, Fresh Goat’s Milk Cheese Aged 0 to 30 Days (Hand-Shaped, Formed or Molded into Pyramid, Disc, Drum, Crottin, Basket or other Shape).
• Green Dirt Farm’s Fresh Plain, First Place, Fresh Rindless Sheep’s Milk Cheese Aged 0 to 30 Days.
• Green Dirt Farm’s Dirt Lover, First Place, Sheep’s Milk Cheese Aged 31 to 60 Days.
• Baetje Farms’ Marinated Feta, Third Place, Open Category: Cheeses Marinated in Liquids and Ingredients — Made from Goat’s Milk.
• Green Dirt Farm’s Fresh Rosemary, Second Place, and Fresh Garlic & Peppercorn, Third Place, Fresh Sheep Chees with Flavor Added — 100 percent Sheep’s Milk.
• Green Dirt Farm’s Grass Fed Sheep’s Milk Yogurt, Second Place, Yogurts — Plain with No Additional Ingredients.
Lincoln Broadbooks loves cheese. He is one of the first cheesemongers in the United States and Canada to become an American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional. He is the manager and buyer for The Better Cheddar in Prairie Village. You can check out his monthly Cheese Wiz column in Tastebud Magazine and find him on Twitter @LincolnBbook and on Instagram @lincycheese.