We've decided to honor our cheese-y forefathers to celebrate Father's Day for June's Cheese Club box. Cheesemaking - and artisan food and beverage making in general - has been intertwined with human history since the dawn of time, which makes this box all the more special! Read on to learn about the cheeses and producers our Club Members will enjoy this month!
We send out a uniquely themed box each month, relating to terroir, history, and celebrations of makers, producers, and farmers - become a member before the final day of the current month to get the next month's box at your very own door.
One of a Kind: Fathers of Invention
Throughout the course of human history, the brightest among us have gifted the collective with countless inventions that make our days more meaningful, more pleasurable and less complicated. The month of Father’s Day has us in the state of mind of giving thanks to the patriarchs whose inventive natures have afforded the brilliance of innovation in our world. If you had to select an answer as to “who was the father of invention,” you’d likely pick Thomas Edison (and you’d be correct!). With an archetype like Edison, where there’s smoke, there’s fire: Edison was indeed a prolific inventor, and he also contributed an R&D roadmap for other aspiring inventors. Edison’s plight also highlights a commonality that is shared with many cheesemakers, ‘the happy accident.’ Some of Edison’s favorite inventions – the phonograph, the motion picture camera – were mishaps or off-shoots that had little to do with what he’d set out to achieve. In this spirit, we are celebrating five producers this month who are not only fathers of children, but also fathers of invention. They have thought outside of boxes, pushed envelopes, and forged pathways to bring us the kind of thrills we live for. From glories of Greek and Spanish isles, to three most-reliable hotspots in the United States, we share this bounty with you, in honor of cheesemaker-fathers.
1. Essex Feta from Essex St. of Lesvos, Greece (Sheep, fresh)
Feta is a cheese with an ancient pedigree, tracing back to Homer’s Odyssey, 8th century BC. Representing the second & third generations of their family’s cheesemaking craft, Panagiotis Tastanis works alongside his daughter to produce their unique feta in the Agra region, on the western edge of the island of Lesvos, Greece. Today, there are only a few locations that can make the real thing – and the island of Lesvos is one of them! Tastanis’ sense of invention looks something like “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!,” as he transports us to prehistoric simplicity with this traditional brine-bathed feta. Unlike the hard, crumbly feta known to many Americans, this is gentle, pillowy feta – akin to what Greeks enjoy every day. Perfectly sea-salty & mildly tart, this cheese possesses a palate-coating milky flavor profile that opens up to notes of vanilla and custard.
Pairings: Conjure salty-meets-sweet brilliance by balancing Essex Feta with Helliemae’s salt caramels; refresh the palate with crisp sips of Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare rosé.
2. Oma from Von Trapp Farmstead and The Cellars at Jasper Hill in Vermont (Cow, washed-rind)
Made by descendants of the famous von Trapp family – yes, *those* von Trapps! – Oma (meaning “grandmother” in German) is named for the von Trapp matriarch, who established the family farm over 50 years ago. While several von Trapp descendants focus on various interdependent business ventures across the family homestead, Sebastian and wife Molly lead the organic-certified farmstead cheesemaking operation. When Oma came to be, Sebastian took the leap to perfect his new invention by partnering with the Keller brothers from The Cellars at Jasper Hill, who wash and age each wheel of Oma to perfection. The result is a soft & gooey, pudding-like texture with a sweet, roasted-nuts flavor, countered by the earthy, sunrise-hued rind.
Pairings: Create a rose-colored vision to prep the taste-buds, and keep the Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare rosé pouring; counterbalance with decadent slices of North Country Bresaola.
3. Maxorata Curado from Mitica of the Canary Islands in Spain (Goat, semi-soft)
The Canary Islands of the early 1980s were as resplendent with beauty as ever – yet scarce on opportunity. A native islander named Alfredo set out to transform this dynamic, inventing a cooperative of dairy farmers (Grupo Ganaderos de Fuerteventura) rooted in preserving Majorero cheesemaking traditions. Now in its second generation, founder Alfredo has handed operations over to his son Esteban, who carries on the tradition of this aged, Spanish paprika-dusted Canary Island goat cheese, Queso Majorero DOP. Made from the butterfat-rich whole milk of indigenous Majorero goats (whose herb-munching contributes to highly aromatic milk), this button-shaped cheese balances elasticity with a gentle crumble. After 60 days of aging, the pimentón-tinged rind gives way to a milky, tangy profile which is remarkably buttery – and low on ‘barnyard-y’ notes.
Pairings: Prickly Pear Chili Pequin Jam from Brushfire Farms plays very nicely with Maxorata Curado’s paprika overtones, and a sparkling cocktail (or mocktail!) with a good shake of aromatic bitters accents island vibes.
4. Double Bubal from Central Coast Creamery in Paso Robles, CA (Water Buffalo, Firm)
With a biological sciences degree and a dynamic 25 year career in industrial dairy and cheese production, Central Coast Creamery’s Reggie Jones most certainly possesses an inventor's mind. His daughter Avery has taken his lead and become an award-winning cheesemaker in her own right, and the knowledge and contacts Reggie developed in his career before opening his own creamery in 2012 have benefitted both of their ventures brilliantly. A true invention, Double Bubal is the most recent addition to Central Coast Creamery's offerings, and the first of its kind to be made in the US: a water buffalo milk gouda! With a naturally sweet, creamy texture and deeply rich flavors of vanilla and fresh cream, it displays a bold nuttiness that is hard to resist.
Pairings: We love pulling caramel sensations out of this gouda with nibbles of Sea Salt Caramels, and this cheese signals a fantastic moment to introduce a bottle of Rosso All'Antica to your spread.
5. Widmer's 10 Year from Widmer's Cheese Cellars in Theresa, WI (Cow, firm)
As a child, cheesemaker Joe Widmer grew up with his folks and six brothers & sisters in the apartment above the family’s cheesemaking facilities – so it was of little surprise when he chose to follow his father and grandfather into the world of cheese. In addition to being a third-generation cheesemaker, Joe completed a 15-year education and training program to become certified as a Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker. As one of the crown jewels in the Widmer’s collection, this cheddar ages into increasingly sharp rich & nutty flavors, and the smooth yet firm texture yields to the emergence of satisfying crunchy bits (tyrosine crystals). The sharpest thing in our case, fruity notes like tart grapefruit deepen & concentrate over time. Older than some of its young fans, kids and adults alike get a kick out of this one!
Pairings: Play with the fruity finish of 10-Year Cheddar by simply letting flavors shine over Olina’s wafers (or apple slices), and another pour of Rosso All'Antica completes your meet-cute!
Each month, Standard Members receive 4-5 wedges each month, while our Deluxe Members get specialty pairings too! Our Cheese Club is available for local pickup or delivery and national shipping. Don't miss out on next month's box!
Checkout our Cheese Club information page to learn more about memberships or watch our tasting videos we make for each box to get a better visual!