The next time you're tasked with planning out that cheese plate, look no further than New York State. From the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains to a subterraneous aging cave in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the Empire State is on the rise as a top producer of artisanal cheese. "We love the range that's happening in New York State cheese right now," says cheesemonger Lia Greenwell of Campbell Cheese & Grocery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. "Some are closely related to European cheeses, and others are one of a kind, New York originals." Here, Lia shares five of her favorite cheeses from the state, along with recommended pairings.
While this cheese is produced by Parish Hill Creamery in Vermont, Humble Herdsman is aged by Crown Finish Caves in converted 19th century lagering tunnels in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Crown Finish washes the semi-soft raw cow's milk cheese in hard cider, then ages the wheels for 4 — 6 months. The result: younger wheels produce hints of fruit, while more mature wheels develop vegetal and peanut notes. Recommended pairing: Ft. Greene Farms Pickled Mustard Seeds.
This triple creme, made by Nettle Meadow Farm in the foothills of the Adirondacks, combines goat milk with Jersey cow cream to produce a truly stunning cheese. Kunik displays the lemony tang of goat's milk with a rich cream line beneath the thin, bloomy rind. Kunik is a guaranteed hit at your next party alongside fruit crisps. Recommended pairing: Jan's Farmhouse Crisps.
“We love the range that's happening in New York state cheese right now. Some are closely related to European cheeses, and others are one-of-a-kind, New York originals.”
Award-winning Margie is produced by Sprout Creek Farm right outside of Poughkeepsie, NY. The bloomy rind boasts a wide range of flavors depending on age. Young wheels are mild, buttery, and akin to brie, while more mature wheels (our favorite) are oozy and sweet. Recommended pairing: The Jam Stand Not Just Peachy Sriracha Jam.
A supremely stinky cheese, Jos Vulto of Vulto Creamery makes these young, raw cow's milk wheels in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains. Ouleout is washed in brine as it ages, creating a complex flavor profile — think toast, roasted nuts, and salt water. With a rich gooey interior, this cheese is perfect for stinky cheese lovers. Recommended pairing: Castleton Crackers Windham Wheat.
Based on the classic French Roquefort, this New York original is produced in the Hudson Valley by Old Chatham Sheepherding Company — one of the oldest and now largest sheep dairies in the United States. Crumbly and rich, Ewe's Blue is laced with fruity grape notes and an insatiable lingering tang. Recommended pairing: Bee Raw Honey New York Basswood.