|A few of the Erbs' Holsteins out to pasture|
"You mean like the wizard from Lord of the Rings?"
No, that's Gandalf. My bad.
As it turns out, there's no wizardry involved in making Landaff, but there is lots of good cheesemaking practices. Cheesemakers Doug and Debby Erb use only raw milk from their own herd of Holstein cows, and make the cheese themselves on the farm. This keeps the milk incredibly fresh--it goes straight from the cows to the creamery, where the cheese is made the same day.
The cows are fed a diet of mostly corn and grasses, all grown on their property. Right now, you can taste the rich flavors of the luscious summer grasses the cows have been munching on. As the seasons change, the cows' diet will change too, and the milk they produce will reflect that change. This is the first time we've carried Landaff, so we're really looking forward to seeing what autumn and winter Landaff tastes like!
Given that the Erbs do pretty much everything on the farm themselves, it may come as a surprise that they send their cheeses off to be aged in Vermont, at The Cellars at Jasper Hill. Trust me, though, this is a good thing, and actually a very traditional practice in Europe.
Aging cheese can be a significant undertaking. Every cheese has its own regimen of care--most need to be turned at least once a day. Some need to be brushed down periodically or washed with salt water, wine, beer, or some other liquid. All need to be kept in a cool, moist environment to age properly. It can be a complicated and time-consuming process that small farmers like the Erbs would rather not deal with (their cheese requires about 2 months of aging).
|The Cellars at Jasper Hill: Cheese Heaven|