Well, it turns out artisan cheesemaker Laini Fondiller of Lazy Lady farm isn’t the lazy lady at all… It’s her 40 Alpine goats that are doing the slacking! “They’re collecting unemployment for the winter,” lamented Fondiller. Lucky for us, she had a backup plan involving some cows who were willing to do the work. Following traditional breeding methods her goats will give no milk from late autumn until spring, when they give birth. In these winter months, Laini keeps the tasty cheeses coming by using cows’ milk from four neighboring farms. On Saturday, January 20, 2007 Laini was nice enough to come down from Westfield, Vermont to visit us. She brought four different types of her hand-made organic cow’s milk cheese. (The cheeses she makes from her herd of goats are organic as well.)
The mildest cheese she brought is called Buck Hill Sunshine. It is a brie style cheese that is almost liquid directly beneath the rind, at which point there are milky-sweet, yet low and musty notes. As one goes deeper inside, the cheese gains a denser texture and fresh clean taste. It’s an awesome change of pace for those getting bored of basic brie.
The second cheese brought a question to mind: What happens when two great cheeses collide?… Why, a big-bang of course. Big Bang is actually two cheeses in one. The interior is a double-creme made from Jersey Cow’s milk. Surrounding the rich, luscious double-cream interior is a layer of cooked curd Holstein milk. All of this is held in by a washed rind, which adds more depth to this already complex cheese.
The winner for most politically provocative cheese name goes to the Barick Obama. The cheese is square (or brick as the name states) in shape, and is both a washed curd, and washed rind cheese. After whey is drained from the curd, it is rinsed with water. This both increases the cheese’s moisture, and makes it less tart. Next the rind is washed to bring out the earthy flavor in the cheese, nicely supplementing its natural vegetal character.
The boldest cheese of the bunch was the Tomme Out. Also belonging to the washed rind category, Tomme Out goes one step further and gets the special treatment of being washed in a local craft brewery’s beer: Otter Creek Brewery’s Oatmeal Stout, from Middlebury VT. (That must have something to do with why I love this one so much! MMMM STOUT!) This orange-rinded beauty delves into the dark realm of meaty yeasty flavors, while retaining a young tangy aspect. This cheese is, shall we say, “flagrantly fragrant”, but after all, that’s one of the reasons why so many enjoy the little stinker.
If you were fortunate enough to stop by our Rittenhouse location while Laini was in, she probably charmed you with her wit and passion for cheese, just as she intrigued me. Hopefully you took her up on the offer to try some of her delicious cheeses. If you couldn’t make it, don’t worry. We’ll have some around a little while longer for you to taste. If you have any questions about Lazy Lady, or any other cheese related questions please feel free to ask.
Seth J. Kalkstein