Pasteurized cow milk – lightly washed rind
Mark and Gari Fischer, Cheesemakers
Mark Fischer was one of the first apprentices to work with David Major at Vermont Shepherd in Putney, Vermont. Transplants from New York City, the Fischers came to Vermont to raise their family and plant roots in a kinder more rural world than that of the city. They eventually bought land in Weston, acquired a herd of sheep and built a house, barn and small cheese making facility of a similar design to that at Major’s Farm.
Today, the Fischers have one of the few sheep dairies that produce cheese in Vermont. At Woodcock Farm they make a number of delicious sheep and cow milk cheese. They source their cow milk from neighboring dairy farms. During the fall and winter months when the Fisher’s sheep do not produce milk, Mark makes a number of cow milk cheeses. Humble Pie is a lightly washed cow milk cheese that has a tangy almost beefy flavor. The rind is orangey pinkish and the interior is fabulously creamy, smooth and rich. It tastes nutty, buttery yet a bit tart at the same time: a truly delicious cheese.
Humble Pie is served best just on is own, but there are a few pairings that bring out the subtleties in its distinctive flavor profile. Serving a few toasted pecans or caramelized walnuts on the side can bring out the natural nuttiness in the cheese. A drizzle of local honey emphasizes the buttery sweetness of the cheese and fresh fruit of any kind, with its hint of acidity, provides a delicious contrast to the richness of the paste. Serving a glass of Prosecco or other sparking white wine would not be a bad idea at all!
And while it seems a shame to cook with such a fabulous cheese, here is one recipe that is a complete show-stopper and designed to be eaten after a long, very hard day in the worst cold weather January has to offer.
A rib sticker if there ever was one!
2 ½ pounds of waxy potatoes, peeled
½ pound of slab bacon, diced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
¾ cup dry white wine
salt and pepper to taste
1 Humble Pie, sliced
Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Place the potatoes in the pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are easily pierced with the knife. Remove from the heat, drain, and let sit until they are cool enough to handle. Cut the potatoes into small chunks and set aside. In the sauté pan, cook the bacon over high heat until browned. Drain, leaving 1 tablespoon of fat in the skillet and add the onion. Cook over moderately high heat for about 5 minutes until golden brown then add the bacon and wine and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Remove the potato mixture from the heat and place half of it in the ovenproof dish. Spread half the cheese slices atop the potato mixture. Cover this with the other half of the potato mixture. Top with the remainder of the cheese. Bake in the hot oven for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbling. Serve hot.
Cave to Co-op is a partnership between Provision International and the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) to support local, artisanal cheese producers in our region and make their products more easily available to co-op shoppers. The NFCA is a network of more than 20 food co-ops in our region — including yours — that are working together to advance their vision of a thriving regional economy, rooted in a healthy, just and sustainable food system and a vibrant community of co-operative enterprise. For more information, please visit www.nfca.coop.