Sunday, March 27, 2011

Peaceful Appalachian Spring (Cheese)

Little did I know that last Friday was going to be the last peaceful day that I was to have for a long time (more on that perhaps at a later date). It is something to celebrate, therefore, that it was a fabulous day. I managed a good hair day, just in time for picture day at the DMV, managed to be in and out of that bureaucratic maze in less than half an hour (Helpful hint - always make an appointment. Always.), and had managed to walk away from a specialty cheese counter with many tasty packages for just $22.  I was enjoying a moment of bliss in my cheese wedge lunch. It was indeed such a tasty cheese that I was loathe to sully it with crackers, eating it with just a knife and my oh so dainty fingers. Plus, it's totally Atkins approved this way, right?

I was noshing away on Meadow Creek Dairy's Appalachian cheese. It is a semi-hard cow's milk cheese made from milk produced by a heard of delightful Jersey's in the mountains of south west Virginia. It sports a thin and lovely Pennicillum mold coat and melts oh so well on the tongue. Like sweet butter. Only with great undertones of earthiness and just enough funk on a rind that could have doubled for a delicate lichen growing on a stone wall. This cheese is delicious and sweet with a nifty peppery hint at the end, and definite citrus notes. When you eat it with the rind, you get the feeling that you are eating a cheese with an old soul that has seen the pristine forests and mineral rich pastures 2800 feet up in the mountains.

Not only do the folks at Meadow Creek have happy cows making milk so high in beta carotene that the cheese is naturally the color of butter, but they have happy pastures too. They rotate where the cows graze allowing the grass to re-grow before it becomes another tasty luncheon location for their talented herd. Very cool.

This was the first cheese that I had really savored in this way in a very long time, and what a treat it was. In fact, it was so delicious, I forgot to take a picture before it was mostly gobbled up. I hope you'll forgive. While the mountains of Virginia aren't necessarily the first place I would think of when it comes to cheese making, I have definitely been schooled! Check out this amazing cheese if you can find it.  According to their website, their cheese is available in 29 states, including plenty of Whole Foods locations.

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