Yes, they do make cheese in the US. A lot. Some of them are exceptional quality as well, and are even made from raw milk. The cheeses mentioned below are some of these. Suggestions for other exceptional raw milk cheeses are received with thanks.
3 CORNER FIELD FARM, SHUSHAN, NY
Semi firm tomme-style aged cheese made of unpasteurized East Friesian ewe’s milk. Upstate this, right on the Vermont border. Battenkill Brebis is earthy and grassy when young, and develops a more complex paté as it ages.
To drink: Pinor Noir without too much toasted oak or Chardonnay on the slim side.
Sheep’s Milk Feta
A traditional Bulgarian(?) style feta made from raw sheep’s milk that has been aged over 60 days in brine made from sheep’s whey and salt. I have never tasted it but would love to taste an unpasteurirized pure sheep’s milk feta-style cheese as that is so rare or more probable non-existent in Greece. This feta has, according to 3 Corner Field Farm, a salty «tang», and is dense but gets creamy in your mouth.
CABOT CREAMERY, CABOT, VT
Cabot Clothbound Cheddar
Cheddar style cheeses are typical for this area. It was in the northeast the first immigrants came with the Mayflower. They came from the UK, the home of Cheddar. That’s it. From Cabot Creamery in Vermont, but matured for a minimum of 10 months in the Cellars at Jasper Hill. A very good Cheddar style cheese, although it is pasteurized. But this is often the case with American cheese. Artisanal cheese that tastes of sweet caramel, milk and nuts.
To drink: No problem pulling the cork of an excellent Bordeaux or even a mature Cabernet Sauvignon from California provided that it does not come with an entire oak tree in the bottle. But remember that if you serve other cheeses too, it is not certain that they tolerate the tannins that Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines will show. Port would also pair very well, Champagne likewise. Chardonnay.
VERMONT FARMSTEAD CHEESE COMPANY, SOUTH WOODSTOCK, VT
Vermont Farmstead Cheddar
By and large a typical Vermont cheese due to the British influence in the «tough old days.» Unpasteurized cow’s milk cheese. Fruity and sweet taste of cream and butter. Fine, maybe a little more airy texture than other cheddars relating to how they treat the curd during cheesemaking.
To drink: Same as for Cabot Clothbound Cheddar above.
Similar to Farmstead Cheddar above, but this is based on the recipe of Wensleydale Yorkshire. Unpasteurized cow’s milk this too. Taste shows hints of apple tart and aftertaste of delicate honey tones.
To drink: Same as for the other Cheddar style cheeses above.
CELLARS AT JASPER HILL FARM, GREENSBORO, VT
Jasper Hill Bayley Hazen Blue
Named after a military road in the area built at a time they were on the warpath against Canada. It’s been a while. As with most blue cheese it is Penicilium roqueforti that has done the job. Some blue cheese tends to have slightly peppery flavor. Bayley Hazen Blue has toned down pepper flavor, rather sweetish taste, nut and grass from the milk. Aged for a while it develops a not very marked but still distinct taste of licorice. Unpasteurized cow’s milk cheese from 50 Ayrshire cows. Matures for 75 days.
Jasper Hill Farms has both a farm, a cheese factory and a fantastic aging cellar that they make available to other dairies in the area.
To drink: A traditional Riesling Kabinet will pair well here. If you’re after a beer, a Stout would pair just great as well.
Named after a philanthropist, a dairy farmer who lived around the turn of the century in Greensboro, where Jasper Hill is located. A mountain cheese style this hailing from Appenzeller. Firm and made from unpasteurized cow’s milk. It is not made on the farm but at a place called Vermont Food Venture Center. After the cheese making and some time to stabilize and develop the rind it is brought to the Cellars at Jasper Hill Farm for maturation where it stays between 7 and 11 months. Flavorful cheese with hints of nuts that is so typical for the mountain cheeses. A little rubbery texture. Serve this as raclette or fondue, on its own or with good bread with some onion marmalade.
To drink: A rich red wine, preferably Californian Cabernet Sauvignon. Vermont is not a wine region so they drink beer with the cheese and recommend a robust Ale.
VON TRAPP FARMSTEAD, WAITSFIELD, VT
You’re so right, this family descended from the von Trapp family featured in the musical The Sound of Music. von Trapp Oma is a washed rind cheese from unpasteurized organic cow’s milk. Semi-soft. Matured at Jasper Hill for 60 to 90 days. Minimum maturation for unpasteurized cheese in USA is 60 days. Like several other washed rind cheeses it develops a relatively strong taste, but that is balanced by sweetish notes. The texture is buttery and the crust is thin and mild.
They also make an other unpasteurized organic cheese called Savage but it is currently not available, for unknown reasons.
To drink: An American Pinot Noir. For example, Johan Vineyards Pinot Noir 2009.
CONSIDER BARDWELL FARM, WEST PAWLET, VT
Consider Bardwell Farm is the oldest cooperative in Vermont, started in 1864. The cooperative makes cheese from both cow’s and goat’s milk. Unlike most other dairies in Vermont they do not use animal rennet.
A washed rind cheese made with unpasteurized cow’s milk from the Jersey breed. Semi-soft cheese with the flavor of butter and barnyard. Thus, a relatively flavorful cheese with a flavor that lasts.
To drink: Would suggest a Pinot Noir for this too; same as above. Alternatively, a glass of your favorite beer, and perhaps a slice of good sourdough bread.
A firm cheese from unpasteurized goat’s milk inspired by Italian Asagio among others. Very good to grate or eat like Parmigiano Reggiano. Available from October to May.
To drink: A powerful wine, but also a compelling white wine.
Not named after the English city where I spent my university days, but after the town of the same name in Vermont that form the gates of Vermont’s mountains. A goat’s milk cheese, unpasteurized and very rustic. If you’re not too fond of goat flavor, this is not the cheese for you. Since the goats move around on different pastures, the cheese shows a little variety depending on grazing resources.
To drink: A powerful and rustic cheese requires an American wine that «has everything». Californian CS offers it.
A semi-firm cheese from unpasteurized cow’s milk inspired by Italian and Swiss cheese making. Aged four to six months. Herbs and farm butter taste. But also a hint of nuts. A great cheese to have on bread.
To drink: Try this with a American Merlot if it is not completely out.
A firm cheese from unpasteurized cow’s milk inspired by Gruyère and Comté. Coming in the wheels of 12 kg and mature at least six months. Has a slightly sharper flavor than the cheeses it’s inspired by and with a hint of butterscotch.
To drink: This tolerates more or less any red wine, but would like to recommend a rich white wine on Chardonnay grape.
SPRING BROOKE FARM, READING, VT
Spring Brook Farm also runs a foundation called Farm for City Kids where schoolchildren come for alternative education.
If we’re to compare this cheese with something, it’ll probably be Abondance (and certainly not the French goat cheese Tarentaise Savoie). A firm cheese of upateurisert organic milk from Jersey cows. Matured at least 10 months. Grass, nuts and butter on the palate, but also weak hints of spice with some pineapple at the end. Lovely cheese. Crispy between your teeth when you eat it. Delicious!
To drink: A juicy Pinot Noir.
A semi-firm cheese from unpasteurized organic cow’s milk. Raclette style and best suited for that as well. Matured from 12 to 18 months.
To drink: A rich white Chardonnay.
LANDAFF CREAMERY, LANDAFF, NH
The cheese is called Landaff, the farm dairy as well and it lies in Landaff, so it is all very clear. A semi-firm washed rind cheese that matures four to six months at the Cellars at Jasper Hill Farm. Is is made in New Hampshire and matured in Vermont. A mild cheese with butter and milk tones. Inspired by Welsh Caerphilly.
To drink:> A dry and still cider.