Regional Cheese

On Sunday, I had the pleasure of meeting Kenny Mattingly, cheese maker at Kenny's Farmhouse Cheese, in Austin, KY. He was visiting at Three Rivers Market with samples, recipes and plenty of friendly chat with customers. Not only do the Mattinglys produce 25 varieties of artisanal cheeses, they do so using only unpasteurized raw milk from their own dairy herd. The family has been raising cows sustainably, without synthetic hormones, on feed produced on the farm, for over 30 years.

After sampling several of the cheeses, I can wholehearted recommend every one. I left with a wedge of Gouda. It offers all the rich flavors of the Dutch product, with fresh, grassy undertones and a hint of sweetness. I plan to enjoy it tonight with greens from our cold frame and the Florida strawberries that are now in season. I took inspiration from one of the many recipes posted on the farm's website.

The brie, named "Awe-Brie" in memory of a family member, is, if anything, better than some of the ones I have eaten from France. Alas, the last round was snatched up by another customer before I could lay hands on it. I'm not worried, though. Kenny will make more.

Other familiar varieties produced at the farm include Asiago, Havarti, Cheddar, Colby, Swiss and a version of Gruyere, named "Norwood," that is next on my list to try. They also offer several blue cheese varieties. If you cannot find their cheeses at your favorite market, the company offers mail order with a 2 pound minimum purchase.