Sunday, January 10, 2010

Say Cheese! (Is that title cheesy?)

For those of you who know Mike and I you probably know that we are serious cheese lovers. This has been somewhat of a problem because for most of the foods that we eat on a regular basis (except for yogurt), we've been able to find a plastic packaging free option but not cheese. So we decided to go on a field trip to visit a local dairy this weekend with our friends Ian and Emily to get some cheese straight from the source.

The cheese shop that we went to was at the Pleasant Valley Dairy located on Kickerville Road in Ferndale (they don't have a website, but you can get their address and phone number by clicking here). The woman running the cheese shop was very friendly and did a tasting for us. We tasted a delicious cheese called Farmstead, and several equally scrumptious kinds of Gouda. She ended the tasting with a Gouda that had been aged for six years which had a very intense flavor and kind of felt like it was burning a hole in my tongue (not exactly my cup of tea, but I bet stinky cheese eaters would love it). The best part is that if you buy a round of cheese it comes dipped in wax instead of wrapped in plastic, hooray!

Another wonderful thing about buying straight from the farm is that you get to meet the cows that your cheese comes from. When we were there the calves were in and Ian and Emily showed us how if you stuck your thumb out they would come up and suck on it (warning-this is not for those of you are sanitarily inclined).

Visiting the farm was great and we will certainly go back again soon or try out some other nearby dairies, but we had heard that making cheese at home was not too difficult so we thought we'd give it a try. Here is a shout out to our friends Susan and Magill (a.k.a. our foodie friends), who lent us their supplies and cheese making book. And guess was super easy and so much fun! In less than an hour from start to finish we had a beautiful ball of fresh mozzarella. We kept it pretty simple this time, but I'm excited to start experimenting with adding herbs and spices and braiding it as well. One of my favorite hour devours in the summer is to put little fresh mozzarella balls on a toothpick with a fresh basil leaf and a cherry tomato. For those of you who want to try making cheese at home, I'm not exaggerating at all about how easy it is. Here is a link to a short YouTube video on making cheese. It's not the recipe that we used, but it's similar and it does show you just how simple the process is: How To Make Cheese. Happy cheese making!


  1. Great post! I've been jonsing to try making pickles and now I want to try cheese, too! You should take pictures of each new cheese you make and share them with your fans.

    Oh, and thank you so much for the bags! They are really nice and I love how each one has a different stitch color. Arlo loved the tag and promptly slobbered it into a ball of goo.

  2. Oh, and we reused the string that you wrapped the bags with. Arlo loves it! He plays with it (supervised) and especially likes it when we try it to toys or tickle his face with it! He'll bite if it's near his mouth (kind of like baby fishing).

  3. We're honored to be your foodie friends! Your mozz looks beautiful.

  4. Yay cheese! I've been making my own mozzarella since fall and it's been awesome. If you want to branch out to cheeses that need a cheese press, the book I have has some directions on how to construct a simple cheese press. I've not attempted this myself but I would be happy to loan you the book if you want.

    ~ Kelly

  5. There are a couple of food cheese producers down in the Skagit around where I live in Edison. I've been meaning to visit them -- maybe we can make it a field trip together?

  6. Mike and and Brooke
    Great blog entry! We have been enjoying the Plesant Valley cheese for years and it is Matt's favorite too. The big red rounds make great Chrismas presents and Valentine's Day presents plastics.
    Our favorite with fresh Mozzarella is to insert slices of ripe tomatoes between slices of cheese and drizzle balsamic vinegar over the top. We first had this in BC and the restaurant at the Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Vancouver BC...very gourmet. Mom and Dad (desert rats)