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Let's Get Cheesy with "Green" Cheese

March has always been the month of green beer, green clovers, lucky green leprechauns and in some states like Illinois even green rivers. So… in this crazy tradition we are also celebrating green in our own way with three very special artisan creameries we selected for this month.

All three creameries practice organic “green” methods from how they either source their milk, raise free range animals, process the milk, to developing and aging cheese. They also give back to their communities in a big way. Cowgirl Creamery located in Point Reyes, CA, played a very significant role in helping to save the dairy farm industry in Northern California during the 1990’s and gave rise to the Sonoma Marin Cheese Trail and ultimately became the California Cheese Trail. Central Coast Creamery in Paso Robles, CA, sources their milk from small local dairies who practice humane husbandry and produce high quality organic milk free of artificial hormones/additives. Finally, we have Spring Brook Farms from Reading, VT, that embraces the land that sustains them from their unique microbial environment. Not only do they produce high quality products but also partner with two other small local Vermont dairies to support the ongoing mission of the Farms for City Kids Foundation.

Created in an 8oz snow-white bloomy cow’s milk wheel is strikingly wrapped with a local organic dark green nettle (Paradise Valley Farms in Bolinas, CA a second-generation farmer), prized by chefs and foragers for its verdant, bitter bite. St. Pat’s is a case study in contracts – reminiscent of artichoke and grassy vegetable notes alongside the buttery richness of the late winter/early springtime milk. This is one of four seasonal cheeses that Cow Girl Creamery offers.

If you have never had a Goat Cheddar you are in for a great experience. This Goat Cheddar is made from 100% organic goat milk. It is semi-hard and pure white with a smooth, velvety texture. This is an exceptional cheddar that is made in a unique wheel form instead of a standard cheddar block. Aromas are sweet and grassy with that traditional salty cheddar finish. Pairs amazing with Sauvignon Blanc.

Made from the organic milk of grass-fed Jersey Cows (not Tarentaise Cattle), this cheese is based on the traditional cheese making process of Tarentaise Valley in the Savoie region of the French Alps. This naturally rinded, smooth textured cheese is manufactured with a copper vat by using the same high quality traditional methods reserved for the finest cheeses of the world. After the 6 months of maturation, it becomes quite hard and offers the grassy, nutty and buttery flavor. Tarentaise is distinctly nutty, and less tangy, which allows it to pair with more tannic wines but will literally pair with all wines from bubbles to a firm Petite Sirah.

Tarentaise cheese was named after the Tarentaise breed of cattle which naturally produces large amounts of milk for both feeding their calves and producing cheese. These cattle descend from the Tarentaise Valley in France where they were isolated from other breeds for many thousands of years. Today they graze in the French Alps ski slopes during the summer. The pastures are so far removed from the towns that the herdsman stay with them for the summer months. The cheese produced from Tarentaise milk has a distinct flavor from the Alps pastures, and the very unique process in which the cheese is created makes this cheese one of Europe’s most loved cheeses. The land that Spring Brook Farms Cattle graze on is very much like the Swiss Alps and his dedication to the craft of this style gave their Tarentaise the “Best Farmstead Cow’s Milk Cheese” award at the American Cheese Society.

Who couldn’t love and live with a face like this?

Credit: Spring Brook Farm Cheese

Makes 4-6 waffles

INGREDIENTS: ‣ 3 teaspoon sugar ‣ 2 teaspoon salt ‣ 2 teaspoon baking powder ‣ 2 cups all purpose flour ‣ 2 cups milk ‣ 2 large eggs ‣ 1 stick butter, melted ‣ 3 cups grated Tarentaise, separated ‣ Maple cream or maple syrup

DIRECTIONS 1. Combine sugar, salt, baking powder, and flour in a large bowl. Whisk to incorporate. 2. Whisk together eggs and milk in a second bowl. Add to dry ingredients and whisk to combine. 3. While whisking constantly, slowly add melted butter to batter mixture and whisk to thoroughly combine. 4. Add 2 cups grated Tarentaise to waffle batter and stir. 5. Heat waffle iron. Once ready, coat with butter, oil, non-stick cooking spray (whichever is kicking around the kitchen.) Pour an appropriate of batter to waffle iron for desired waffle size. Before closing the iron, sprinkle top of batter with small amount of remaining grated Tarentaise. Cook to desired level crispiness. 6. Top with a generous dollop of maple cream (or syrup) and enjoy!

* Feeling crazy? Add some cubed ham or crumbled bacon to the waffle batter!

keywords: Cheese, Artisan Cheese, Organic Cheese, Green Cheese, St. Patricks Day, Cheese Club, Complexity Wine

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