I’ve mentioned before (here, here and here) my love of humble and oft overlooked Cottage Cheese; The Washington Post has a story on some of the high quality, small-batch cottage cheeses now available from cheese makers like Traders Point Creamery and Cowgirl Creamery:
Artisanal cottage cheese?
The phrase trips off the tongue much the way “organic corn dog” or “hand-crafted diet soda” might. Because while cottage cheese has been a supermarket staple at least since your grandmother served it with pineapple slices, it retains a ho-hum image as a bland diet food. In the hierarchy of culinary esteem, it’s not too far above Velveeta.
But a small number of curd-loving cheese crafters are challenging that blase image, creating cottage cheeses that are different from the stuff in tubs in the dairy aisle. An artisan, for example, might use milk from grass-fed cows, stir and cut the curds by hand and add cream for a lightly tart, full-bodied cheese.
Admittedly, it remains an ultra-niche product, nowhere near as common as artisanal hard cheeses. But the cottage industry shows the artisanal food movement’s wide reach, as well as the unheralded qualities of a humble cheese.
Read the full story here.
Cottage cheese gets a bad rap: most of us know it only from the supermarket tubs, usually in some low- or non-fat version, to be eaten by suffering dieters with some pineapple or peaches from a can plopped on top.
It’s a shame, because the real thing can be delicious and more complex than the spackle-like substance most frequently encountered. This one is Ben’s Cottage Cheese, made on the Lower East Side of New York. With large, irregular curds that hold their shape but give gently in the mouth, it has a wonderfully milky, tangy flavor, with just the right balance of sweet and salty.
Purchased at Murray’s Cheese.
(Note: Brighton Beach is another great source of cottage cheese. The Russian groceries down there will often have multiple vats of cottage cheese, in different curd sizes and styles, that you can purchase by the pound.)
(Photo ©2012 BonAppetit.com)
Q: Dear Foodist: What’s one food you’re embarrassed to like?
While I’m a booster for the cottaged cheeses (ok, I don’t think that’s actually a term, but it works), I was not aware that Northern Spy Food Co. had their own house cottage cheese, or that Cowgirl Creamery made it as well! I’ll have to try both soon:
A: I used to hide my love of cottage cheese, only eating it at home. What was I afraid of, that people would think I was on the pineapple-and- cottage-cheese diet? (Chefs must feel the same way, as you never see it on restaurant menus—though New York’s Northern Spy Food Co. now makes it in-house.) But I’ve recently come to join the ranks of the curd lovers, proud and strong. I’ll eat pretty much any brand, but the artisanal, organic offerings from Cowgirl Creamery and Traders Point Creamery are favorites. Another confession: My ideal way to eat it is with potato chips. Don’t believe it’s the next great food pairing? Click here for a horseradish-and-cottage-cheese dip and prepare to be convinced. —Andrew Knowlton
The Village Voice writes in defense of a disappearing food, Cottage Cheese.
No dairy product has sunken lower in the popular estimation than cottage cheese. Can you name a fancy restaurant that has cottage cheese on its menu? Is artisanal cottage cheese available at any bistro or gastropub? Is cottage cheese sold at farmers’ markets, or have you ever seen a speck of it at Smorgasburg, say?
He makes a good point. Cottage cheese — the real stuff mind you, like you can still find in scoop-your-own vats in Russian groceries down in Brighton Beach — is delicious, and deserving of more attention. Before you write it off, try the real thing, or make your own. I actually wouldn’t be surprised to see it become the next hot artisanal dairy product.
Photo ©2011 Village Voice.