Cheese Plate – “Kinsman Ridge”

I was in Central Bottle + Provisions to do a little wine shopping but no visit to the shop is complete without some cheese tasting. Cheesemonger Stephanie Santos offered me sample tastes of cheeses she had recently added to the inventory. As soon as I tasted “Kinsman Ridge” from Landaff Creamery, I knew I’d be leaving with a slice. Until recently, Doug and Deb Erb, the cheese makers at Landaff,  had made one cheese only – the eponymous  “Landaff”. This cheese – inspired by Welsh farmstead cheeses – has proven quite popular – fine cheese shops across the country stock it and it appears on numerous restaurant menus. Now the creamery has debuted a new cheese, “Kinsman Ridge” – a raw cow’s milk washed rind cheese. Since Landaff Creamery utilizes the milk from its own herd, this is a farmstead cheese. It is also a collaboration between the Creamey and The Cellars at Jasper Hill – the large ageing cave constructed by the Kehler brothers to provide the correct environment in which small production cheesemakers can properly age their cheeses. In addition to providing  the optimal space for the affinage (ageing) of cheeses, The Cellars also provides distribution and marketing for artisanal New England cheese makers.

The ivory hued cheese is made from the milk of late summer and redolent of the pasture – the herbal and spicy notes of onion, garlic, dill, mustard, saffron; additionally, the nuttiness of browned butter; the texture –  pliant yet creamy; perfectly salty. What really comes through is the wonderful richness of the milk. All of this surrounded by a beautiful golden rind splotched with white and black molds. Though this is a washed rind cheese, “Kinsman Ridge” is not a stinker but mellow rather than funky – and perfect for autumn, evoking the warmth and fullness of early September.

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