Who is an artisanal cheesemaker? By definition, it’s a cheesemaker who uses little or no mechanization in the process of making cheese, patiently crafting small batches by hand with the help of just traditional tools and techniques. This art form transcends simply making cheese — it’s a labor of love that produces a beautiful and delectable end product. Check out these 6 unique artisanal cheesemakers, whose creations are a must-taste for every true cheese lover.
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Credited as trailblazers in the artisanal cheesemaking business, Cypress Grove uses goats as their main dairy source. Founder and self-proclaimed “serious hippie” Mary Keehn used the free-roaming goats of her neighbor back in the 70s to provide fresh milk for her kids, and tried her hand at a bit of cheesemaking along the way and the rest as they say, is history. Their Humboldt Fog is their flagship cheese and is amazing.
Old Chatham Sheepherding Creamery
These New-York-based cheesemakers are known for their award-winning sheep’s milk cheese and yogurt. Their story began in 1993, when Tom and Nancy Clark purchased 600 acres of lush grassland in Old Chatham. Since then, their Chatham’s Camembert, Ewe’s Blue, Kinderhook Creek, and sheep’s milk yogurts have gone on to win numerous awards and have been championed on restaurant menus and in specialty food stores across the country.
Born out of a chef’s last-minute requirement for some local goat cheese to prepare a meal, Vermont Creamery has gone on to win more than 100 national and international awards. While goat milk cheese remains their main focus, the proud creamery artisans also produce fresh dairy products made from cow’s milk like crème fraȋche, mascarpone, and quark.
Back in the 70s, friends Sue Conley and Peggy Smith embarked on an adventure to San Francisco, which gave them experience in the restaurant business in the city. After many years, they started Cowgirl Creamery in the early 90s. Look out in stores for their amazing Red Hawk and melt-in-your-mouth Mt Tam.
Grafton Village Cheese
Started in the same village that bears its name, the cheesemakers borrow from a rich dairy tradition that dates back to the 19th century. Grafton is famous for its range of aged cheddars, which can be from 1 to 4 years, or even older. Their Bear Hill and Queen of Quality Clothbound Cheddar have been standout products in 2017, winning them accolades at many competitions.
Jasper Hill Farm
Started by two brothers, Mateo and Andy Kehler, in a small Vermont town near the Canadian border, Jasper Hill is famous for its numerous varieties of cheeses that mature in cellars below the farm. Their unique Bayley Hazen Blue and amazing Winnimere are classics that are in hot demand by leading chefs and connoisseurs across the country.
Got a favorite artisanal cheesemaker? Let us know about them in the comments.