Barden Blue, from Consider Bardwell Farm (cave-aged by Murray’s) is Consider’s first foray into the blue cheese world. When you think of blue cheese you probably envision a Rogue River or Fourme de Montbrison, a moist white paste riddled with pockets and veins of P.Roqueforti, but — similar to Roelli’s Dunbarton and Red Rock cheeses — the Barden sticks its toe into the blue-molded world rather than diving in, with discreet bluing enhancing the flavor in highly controlled manner.
Aged around 4 months, the paste is dense, buttery and lightly eyed, with blue mold distributed in patches. With many blues, the curds are kept more loosely packed deliberately to allow for more space for the blue molds to inhabit. The Barden is a traditional pressed cheese, and as such the curds are packed so tightly that blueing can only occur along the pierce lines, where oxygen is able to get in. In some ways it’s a controlled version of the blueing you find in a traditional British clothbound cheddar, where the occasional crack or opening will allow a bit of blue to establish a foothold (in England this “accidental” blue is often considered a welcome characteristic, whereas in American cheesemaking it has traditionally been viewed as a defect to be strictly avoided).
In flavor this cheese is mild, tangy, cheddary and nutty, with notes of hay and even hints of barnyard. The blue flavor gives it a little extra kick, a herbaceous, peppery overtone, but without being the dominant characteristic. This could be a good cheese for someone who says “I don’t like blue” (which is not to say that it’s not also great for those who do love Blues!).
Purchased at Murray’s Cheese.
NonaBrooklyn.com has an excellent — and in-depth! — profile of Consider Bardwell Farms, taking the reader through all facets of this award-winning Southern Vermont cheese making powerhouse. The article is divided into sections: “The Farmers”, “The Maker”, “The Monger”, “The Owner” and finally a tasting of Consider cheeses at Eastern District in Brooklyn.
At Consider Bardwell Farm in West Pawlet, Vermont, the cheese is made in the way that, in a moment of reverie after a taste of spring Mettowee – their fresh, creamy, grassy chevre – one would imagine their cheese being made. Yes, at Consider Bardwell, after the morning milking, goats frolic in dewy pastures spread across a lush plain unfurled at the foot of rolling mountains. In a century-old barn, fresh-faced locals stir milk with paddles in gleaming stainless steel vats, and separate curds from whey. Upstairs, wheels of cheese in many sizes age in cool, pungent caves. And twice a week, the finished rounds are gently loaded into a truck, to fly south across the ribbons of blacktop, out of the mountains, down the Hudson’s eastern shore, to Brooklyn. Other places too, throughout the Northeast, and to many of the finest cheese shops and restaurants nationwide.
A taste of this cheese at Eastern District, a friendly neighborhood cheese shop in Greenpoint, launched idyllic daydreams of summertime in Vermont. We quickly decided to make a trip north, to visit this farm, to meet the people who make this cheese, to learn a little about what they do, and why.
Definitely worth a read, and a look as well, because the photography is beautiful (above is just a small sample). check out the full store at the NonaBrooklyn blog.
(All photos ©2012 and courtesy of NonaBrooklyn.com)
Via considerbardwellfarm, which now has a Tumblr!
Freshly ladled Mettowee
Peter Dixon with a wheel of Rupert.
We love this cheese <3
The Grazin Burger with Consider Bardwell’s Pawlett cheese: a delicious, locally sourced organic/biodynamic burger, at Grazin’ in Hudson, NY. They’ve gotten some media attention as the nation’s first “Animal Welfare Approved Restaurant”, and the food is pretty tasty as well. All ingredients are sourced from local suppliers, from the meat — which comes from the farm run by the owners of the diner, Grazin Acres — to the buns, which come from the Hawthorne Valley bakery, to the cheese, which comes from a variety of sources, including Hawthorne Valley and Consider Bardwell.
My one suggestion would be that they expand the menu a little. If a burger is what you’re after Grazin’ is just the ticket, but the menu beyond that is quite limited, just a few other items really. It would be nice to get a broader array of choices, and also maybe some steaks or other cuts of meat, as I know that we, and I suspect others, went there expecting more of a full diner menu.
Pawlet, from Consider Bardwell, is a natural-rinded Italian-style toma, made from raw Jersey cow’s milk. With a creamy, slightly buttery paste, herby notes and a nice little hint of stink (Poul, Consider’s cheesemonger, said that this batch was a little funkier than usual), this is a versatile, easy-eating, perfect-for-melting cheese. If you’re looking for a good cheese for grilled cheese or melting over a burger, Pawlett is a good candidate.
Purchased from the Consider Bardwell stand at the Carroll Gardens farmer’s market.
With the American Cheese Month Passport, this October you’ll be able to taste through a different American cheese each day at 40% off. Passports are available at participating retailers in New York and Seattle.
Manchester, from Consider Bardwell, an aged goat’s milk Tomme. Earthy, fruity, nutty, with a subtle sharpness, perfect with fruit, and also works well on a grilled cheese sandwich with mashed avocado, I can say from first-hand experience. Purchased at Stinkys.