by Stephanie Willard, Downtown Specialty Cheese
The cheese case can be overwhelming. Don’t know where to start? These selections offer something to please everyone.
Artikaas 3 Month Gouda
Creamy, affordable, goodness. This cheese has a mild, but decadent, flavor. It's good by itself or melted into frittatas. I now always have this at home along with my other long time favorite, Coastal Cheddar.
Uses: Great melted into frittatas or eaten by itself as a snacking cheese. Mild and satisfying.
This cheddar is matured at the Ford Farm Dairy located on the world heritage Jurassic Coast line in the salty sea air. It is rugged and mature and has crunchy tyrosine bits that I love. It's sharp enough for a kick, but smooth enough to melt.
Uses: Great for cooking. Use anywhere you might use a traditional cheddar or serve on a charcuterie board with cheese and crackers.
Harmony Fields Fleecemaker
This is our lovely, local sheep milk feta from the Skagit Valley. It’s creamy, tart and so good. It’s only available from April to October, so this is the only feta I buy this time of year. Harmony Fields is a regenerative farm that is known for its sheep cheese but offers other products such as wool and organic herbs.
Uses: Great to eat fresh. Add to a mezze platter and sprinkle with za'taar, or eat on top salads and pastas.
Melt-in-your-mouth, buttery, full but mild flavor, with notes of sweet grass and wildflowers. A thick, creamy disc of fresh sheep’s milk with a fudgy center and downy velvet rind. The sheep graze lush floral pastures on the Causses, a group of limestone plateaus rich in minerality in the South of France.
Uses: At room temperatures, it gets almost unctuous and runny, making it perfect to spread on crackers or a baguette with sour cherry jam and toasted nuts on the side.
This cheese is a locally-made favorite. It's a relative of mozzarella, but smoked and aged making it bold, buttery and slightly more firm than the mozzarella you're used to.
Uses: A great melting cheese. This is ideal for pizza, burgers, and grilled cheese.
Pairing and Charcuterie:
Payson Breton Salted French Butter: My absolute favorite! It used to be a “fancy” butter to have at home when we were hosting dinner or going to friends’ homes. Now it’s in my fridge all the time.
Divina Mediterranean Pickled Beets: So delicious. They’re perfect this time of year with feta or chevre on salad mix.
Arnaud Pitted Nicoise: I’ve become lazy and only buy pitted olives now. These haven’t lost their integrity by being pitted, like some other olives. They’re little flavor pops on any kind of salad. Pasta or otherwise.
Divina Chopped Calabrian Peppers: These are spicy, smoky and a bit fruity. I’ve used them in marinara sauce and topped onto vermicelli bowls. A little can go a long way.
Effie’s Oatcakes: These are sweet and savory. It says they’re good with cheese, but I just eat them by themselves. So good with tea. When I have eaten them with cheese, honey chevre is the hit!