Leave a comment

31 Cheeses in 31 Days: Day Nineteen: San Andreas

2012 American Cheese Month 31 Cheeses in 31 Days: Day Nineteen: San Andreas

Cheese: San Andreas

Who: Bellwether Farms

Website: Bellwether Farms

Where: Sonoma County, California

Milk Type: sheep, raw

Texture: firm

Rind: natural

Shape: 3.5lb wheel

Flavor: Lightly salty-sweet and mildly sharp, lingering brown butter, grassy, semolina pasta

I grabbed the remainder of the wedge out the fridge to have one small smackeral… but, like Pooh… I ate the whole thing.

True story.  Regular readers of WITR and its various extensions across the innerwebz realize that I’ve never met a sheep’s milk cheese I didn’t like. San Andreas, from Bellwether Farms in Sonoma is not the cheese that will break that streak. It’s sheepy, but just a bit. Flavors are deep and complex. It’s sweet and grassy with a lingering brown-butter, carmelized drippings quality and a bit of wheatiness like cooked pasta.

Getting into cheese making commercially is not for the faint of heart, and sheeps milk cheeses have the expense of yield. So here’s to the farmers and dairymen making great sheep cheeses in the USA!

Paired brilliantly with a mid-decade Tempranillo.

Here’s Bellwether’s official story behind the creation of their aged sheep milk beauties, San Andreas and Pepato:

Bellwether Farms first started to age sheep milk cheeses in 1992. After two years of making a fromage blanc we took our first trip to Italy. At the urging of many of our Italian influenced chefs and friends we focused on Tuscany. Cindy and Ed took that first trip with the goal of learning enough of a recipe to begin producing a Pecorino here in Sonoma. After returning from the trip with pages of notes and even a few video
clips we started making our cheeses. Initial results were promising and well received by our farmers’ market customers but we had questions in all areas of its production and aging. In the spring of 1994 I took a trip back to Italy visiting a number of sheep dairies and cheese makers in Tuscany. Two years of experience making cheese gave me a much better understanding of what I was watching than Cindy and Ed had on their trip. It was apparent that there were many techniques we were not using that would give us more control over the quality of our cheeses. Experiencing the differences from one Pecorino to the next on this trip gave me a comfort level to explore
the flavors of our milk and cheeses and work to bring out those we preferred. Within two years we were phasing out our Pecorino Toscano in favor of what we would call our San Andreas. By controlling the moisture level and the acid development we were able explore flavors we found in our milk and cheeses to make a cheese that has a much smoother mouth feel and a complex depth of flavor yet retains its classic sheep characteristics. While our sheep cheeses are ripening they develop a smear on the rind that contributes its own interesting and complimentary flavor. Our Pepato is made using the same recipe and aging techniques but with whole peppercorns inside the wheel. We now prefer our cheeses be aged about 3 ½ months.

ggg

Advertisements

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Cheese Making Years

The Adventures of Anne Hastings in the World of Cheese

Secondary Culture

cheesy adventures in the world of milk, cultures, and mold

Finger, Fork & Knife

I'm Kate and Finger, Fork and Knife is where I record the recipes that excite, nourish and inspire me. I focus on wholesome, high-nutrition, home-cooked food - recipes that satisfy and delight. Welcome!

The House Mouse

One girl's journey through the cheese world

Salutation Recipes

I'm trying to keep a log of all the things we cook which taste really lovely. You know what it's like: you tweak and tweak a recipe until it's barely recognisable and then wonder how you used to make it. And it will also save a lot of time and bits of paper when it comes to sharing those recipes with friends.

Saucy Pans

Food Reviews and Recipes around Bristol & Cardiff

eCharta

The blog

ICI & LA NATURE PICTURES

Walk and Bike in France. www.icietlanature.com

cookinandshootin

"It's so beautifully arranged on the the plate - you know someone's fingers have been all over it." - Julia Child

A Crust Eaten

Living life one plate at a time

%d bloggers like this: