Showing posts with label Twig Farm. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Twig Farm. Show all posts

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Twig Farm Visit

Some of my favorite cheeses come from Twig Farm in West Cornwall, Vermont. This small farmstead creamery is making some phenomenal stuff.

Why are their cheeses so rad? I've decided to write a list for you.

1. It's seasonably made. Michael encourages his goats to follow their natural breeding cycle. They mate in the fall, take the winter off to gestate, and in the spring "kidding" season starts, and fresh goat milk is available once again.

2. All of their cheeses are raw. I'm a huge fan of raw fluid milk and raw milk cheese. Why does raw milk make a difference? Many people believe that raw milk cheese has a more complex flavor profile. Yes, it's true that pasteurizing cheese kills off all of the bad bacteria like listeria, but it also kills off the good flavor-producing bacteria that add depth of flavor and a sense of terroir to the cheese. The cheeses from Twig Farm-especially square- taste very much like the natural flora that is part of the goats' diet.

3. Cheesemaker Michael used to be Cheesemonger Michael at South End Fromaggio in Boston. I think that it's beneficial for a cheesemaker to know what's going on in the retail world. Knowing what happens in the shop can help a cheesemaker out in terms of what size and shape of cheese is easy to distribute, what price point the markets can bear, how best to merchandise their cheese, and gives them a complete picture from milk to consumer on what happens to their product. It is also beneficial for a cheesemonger to learn more about the scientific and labor intensive processes that go into every delicious wheel that we sell, but that's another post for another day.

4. Michael knows the names of all of his goats and it is clear after meeting him that he loves his employees.

5. The land is beautiful. To get to the pasture we walked through a rocky little foresty area which is perfect for playing with your goaty girlfriends or for climbing with your little goaty hoofs. Then we got to the fields. Thistle, Queen Anne's Lace, clover and yummy grasses are all there ready to satisfy any of your nibbling needs. Twig Farm is a goat paradise.

6. The cheeses all have very simple names which is appealing and comforting in a way that I can't actually describe. While the names of the cheeses (Square, Fuzzy Wheel, Goat Tomme) almost sounds generic (like the "Acme" company that always come popping up in road runner cartoons) the cheeses are phenomenal. My favorite of the Twig Farm cheeses is Washed Rind. This buttery, creamy, slightly funky, definitely goaty cheese is washed in a whey brine solution and aged for just under three months. While you should absolutely buy any of their cheeses if you see them, the Washed Rind is required eating.

Goats hanging out in the pasture. Eating green stuffs and being happy.

My brother confessed to me that he isn't much of a goat lovin' man. The Twig Farm ladies changed his mind though. They just surrounded him and made him pet and fall in love with them. See bro, I told you. Goats are good.

Okay yeah it kind of looks like this goat is either burping, coughing or has a furball.

Goats are herd animals and love playing follow the leader.

These are the Twig Farm bucklings. So cute. All they wanted to do was nibble and nuzzle our hands.

This was the last stop on our three farm tour with Vermont Farm Tours, and it was one of my favorite. I've been a fan of Twig Farm for quite a while and meeting Michael and his lovely ladies was one of the highlights of my trip. If you're going on a cheese trip through Vermont, you MUST make a stop here to play with the goats.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Booty from NYC part 4- the final chapter

I had no idea how much time I was going to have to spend eating these 9 cheeses. Day in and day out. Tasting them bit by bit, until I have nothing left but mac n' cheese fodder. Most of the cheese I got were great (Forsterkaase just didn't impress me) and most of the people I got to talk with were awesome (yes, I'm talking about you Saxelby). With this last post I realize how much fun I've had collecting my cheeses, tasting them, and then letting you guys in on the goods. I've got to take more cheese trips.

Ok, on with the show. Next up on the hit parade is Kunik. This cheese was a melt in your mouth, spreadable, salty, buttery delight. This was the first cheese to be devoured. Kunik is a triple creme cow/goat blend cheese from Nettle Meadow Farm in upstate NY. Usually I'm not a 3x creme gal. I find them to be salty, and a bit like eating a stick of butter. There are however exceptions, and this is one of them. It's the goat in it. The goat gives this cheese depth, and tang, and tastioscity.

Next up is Square. Yes, I know it's in a triangle. My brother pointed that out to me. I had to pinch him for being a turd. This cheese is from Twig Farm in Vermont. Yes, another Vermont cheese. I'm biased. I know. I don't care. Vermont rules! This is a raw goat's milk cheese that I imagine is inspired by Drap. This cheese is shaped with cheese cloth, and has an indentation from the knot of the cloth. This cheese might also be inspired by Garoxxta, but it's yummier. The rind on this cheese is out of control. They call it rustic. I agree. I found it to be a bit mineraly, like wet rocks. I like that. The nutty, tangy, surprisingly creamy paste was absolutely delicious!

The only problem I had was with the rind a few days later. The rind got a distinctive Mr. Clean/ammonia odor. If you have a cheese that has developed this odor, do not throw it away-yet. Unwrap it and let it sit out on the counter and let it think about what it wants to do. A half an hour should do it, the smell should dissipate. Most of the time it's gotten that smell because it's been wrapped up too long, or tightly, or because it's just being a cranky bitchy little cheese. In this case, the rind never lost that smell. I cut around it, and ended up shaving the paste onto salad. Tasty, and a good way to save cheese. I just hate throwing out cheese. Even if it smells like Mr. Clean.

The last cheese on our journey is the Barick. Saxelby spoke about this cheese back in 2007:

"Barick Obama:
(Lazy Lady Farm, Westfield VT)
Laini Fondiller has got to have one of the busiest brains in the cheese biz. Not only is she relentless about inventing new cheeses (I think her average is about one a week) she isn't shy about giving them some pretty hilarious names. Barick is a little paving stone shaped cheese of buttery, creamy, earthy cows' milk cheese with a beautiful washed rind kissed by patches of purplish and yellow mold."

Laini is a bit of a cheeky monkey when it comes to naming her cheeses. Have you tried the Tomme de lay? Lazy Lady Farm is one of those names I always trust. I hardly ever get to eat it anymore since I'm way out here in Chicago, but I always get some of her stuff when I'm back east. It's always pounced upon, and I rarely share. This cheese is a double creme washed rind cheese. It is buttery, beefy, a bit fruity, and made me wished that I drank more so I could have a beer with it. Perhaps an IPA or something else hoppish.

For those of you who celebrate it, Happy Easter! Happy Passover! If you don't celebrate, Happy Sunday!