I officially had a great weekend!
On Saturday, I traipsed off to Monforte Dairy in Stratford, Ontario. I’m taking another cheese class (this time it’s “Cave Aged Cheese” — all about the affinage process, which is what you do with cheese as it ages to make it extra delicious). Our teacher, Ruth, is the owner of Monforte, and so invited us over get our hands in the cheese vat to actually make some cheese! Stay tuned for that post… we not only made cheese, but we’re going to take it through the affinage process ourselves. But in the meantime, I thought I’d share some of the beautiful cheeses that Monforte is making.
We arrived in the morning, and were greeted by this glittering artwork by Corinne Carlson:
And this sheepie, who wanted to come home with me:
We walked into the dairy, and the front room is a shop where you can buy Monforte’s cheeses — they use milk from four dairy animals: sheep, goats, cows, and water buffalo. Water buffalo’s milk is higher in fat than milk from sheep, goats, or cows, so the resulting cheeses are creamier and even more luxurious.
Monforte has two aging rooms — the “White Mold Room” and the “Wild Room”.
Anything that grows a white mold (think Camembert) gets to live in the White Mold Room:
These wheels are Black Sheep, a sheep’s milk cheese covered in ash (and the type of cheese that we made!):
And these little pyramids are White Sheep — similar to the Black Sheep as it is also made from sheep’s milk and will develop a white bloomy rind, but it doesn’t get the ash coating:
And everything else lives in the Wild Room. There’s a distinct cheesy smell that hits you as soon as you open the door…
You can see the cheeses in all different stages. This is the gorgeous Piacere — a sheep’s milk cheese rolled in rosemary, savoury and chili:
And this is a crazy Piacere — covered in white and blue molds:
You can also see the aging process with the True Blue — water buffalo milk hard blue cheese. On the bottom racks are the youngest True Blues, and as you work your way up to the top racks, the True Blues get older and moldier!
I think I could have just stood there all day, entranced by the patterns the molds make on the True Blues:
And all around the room were happily aging cheeses:
Yup, cheese heaven.