Monday, March 29, 2010

I Went to Utah and All I Got Was This Stinking Cheese

And if you know me, you know that's a good thing. Bringing home cheese, that is.

Ironically, Utah is pretty darn cheesy. Wisconsin and even California get all the ink, but Utah isn't exactly a slacker in the culture department. Dairy farms abound in my beloved town of Logan where I went to college (USU - go Aggies!), and the area is home to Cache Valley Dairy among others... makers of cheese cheese and more cheese (ooh! they have a Facebook fan page - signing up now!). While going to school in this dairy-drenched dot on the map most of my peers were gaga over the fresh, truly famous Aggie Ice Cream, served up on campus by the Ag department. But not me. I always - and still do - go for the cheese.

Despite the proliferation of Utah cheese production, admittedly, the vast majority of it is your typical varieties: cheddar, Swiss, colby, Monterey jack... even the dreaded American. So it has been with great curiosity and enthusiasm that I have been following one of Utah's only artisan cheese makers, the Beehive Cheese Company.

For a couple years now, I've been reading the accolades upon accolades being heaped on this small Northern Utah cheese producer. In particular, I was intrigued by one of their cheeses called "Barely Buzzed" - a cheddar that is hand-rubbed with coffee and lavender buds. Coffee AND cheese? Two of my vices wrapped up in a single package? Sign me up.

Barely Buzzed is available here in the Bay Area at a few select artisan grocery stores and cheese shops, but I'd never gotten my hands on any. So when I wandered into the cheese section of a South Jordan Harmon's grocery store during a recent quick trip to Utah and was faced with a full array of Beehive Cheese Company selections, I loaded up. Barely Buzzed, of course, went right into the basket. Twice. Then, in talking to the knowledgeable cheesemonger, she hooked me up with a selection of cheeses that were a great representation of what Beehive has to offer: a Swiss, plus two different versions of Beehive's Promontory Irish-style cheese, the Apple Walnut Smoked variety (self-explanatory), and the Butter Bound variety (where the rind is hand-rubbed with butter during the aging process... mmm.... butter).

Unfortunately, the Harmon's cheese section didn't carry the complete line of Beehive cheeses... so I'm still dreaming of trying their SeaHive (hand rubbed with Beehive wildflower honey and local Redmond RealSalt), the Squeaky Bee Curds (in flavors like Habanero and Rosemary), and of course, the Aggiano (recipe courtesy of USU). I'm also bummed that I didn't have the chance to visit their actual creamery. But it's on my list, and sometime when I'm in Utah for more than 36 very booked hours, I vow to make the pilgrimage.

But I left the Beehive State with my treasured souvenirs hand-carried on my lap the entire flight back to the City by the Bay. I'd like to say that I shared my bounty, or that I incorporated the cheeses into some fabulous recipes... but nope. I kept them all to myself, and doled out slices to myself over the next week or so whenever I wanted a special treat. (Oh who am I kidding? My haul lasted only a couple of days!). How very cheesy.

1 comment:

  1. thanks mo- we are glad you enjoyed :)
    can't wait to see you when you come visit
    -Beehive Cheese