Give the Gift of Cheese!
Who wouldn't want a stocking full of cheese? And this isn't just any cheese—it is local, artisan cheese designed to tempt cheese novices and aficionados alike! This list comprises our favorites from this year’s Artisan Cheese Fest, so take a gander and make the GOUD-A decision.
Sequatchie Cove Creamery – Sequatchie, TN – First inspired by the funky French cheeses of Savoie, owner operator, Nathan Arnold began Sequatchie Cove’s quest for premium raw cheese in his home kitchen in the early 2000s. Sequatchie has since been producing some of Tennessee’s best cow’s milk cheeses, including their beautifully savory Bellamy Blue—hand-rubbed with smoked sea salt and aged for 90-120 days.
Noble Springs Dairy – Franklin, TN – Our hometown favorite of the festival, Noble Springs Dairy is nestled just six quiet miles from downtown Franklin, specializing in local goat’s milk cheeses since 2009. A Williamson County native, Dustin Noble was raised cultivating milk from his family’s two goats, and has since realized his passion for cheese making with his wife, Justyne. In addition to Noble Spring’s core products which are available at Nashville’s Whole Foods, Turnip Truck, Produce Place, plus many others, their most recent experiment – a honeyed goat rubbed with Hattie B’s hot chicken seasoning – was our favorite sweet & spicy standout at last Saturday’s festival.
Delta Cheese Straws – Nashville, TN – Slightly off the beaten path from the rest of our gooey cheese gurus, Delta Cheese Straws brought a spicy, Southern twist to last weekend’s festival. Mississippi native Lisa Smith came to Nashville 30 years ago and has since continued to perfect her mother’s crunchy cheese straw recipe for friends, family, and now for cheese lovers in the Nashville area. Find Lisa’s hand made Delta Cheese Straws at the Nashville Farmer’s Market, BATCH Nashville, and the Food Company in Green Hills.
Boxcarr Handmade Cheese – Cedar Grove, NC – Veterans of artisan meats and produce but recent to the cheese game, Boxcarr broke ground on their brand new production facility in April of 2014. Sourcing milk from small neighboring farms, Boxcarr produces and ages all of its cheeses by hand, and currently offers a variety of unique cow’s and goat’s milk products.
Prodigal Farm – Rougemont, NC – Currently operating on a century’s old North Carolina property, this family operated farm is centered around its Animal Welfare Approved, pastured goat herd. Their estate cultured goat cheeses range from youthful and fresh to aged-washed rinds, each of which is hand nurtured in the French “affinage” philosophy – by the art of refining.
Dayspring Dairy – Gallant, AL – Focusing exclusively on sheep’s milk cheeses and caramel spreads, this family owned and operated farm was the first licensed sheep farmer and producer in Alabama. All of their cheeses are handcrafted without the use of pesticides or commercial fertilizers, from the Farmhouse Feta and Sheep’s Milk Ricotta to their raw, two-month aged Gouda, “Ewetopia.”
Fishing Creek Creamery – Chester, SC – When it comes to crafting each of their unique goat’s cheeses, Fishing Creek Creamy heralds a perfect balance between nature and nurture. The cheeses are carefully cultured and hand crafted, but Fishing Creek’s m.o. is defined by terrior. Carefully monitoring the “forage, fiber, and grain” that nourish their goats ultimately translates into the purity, delicacy, and authenticity of each of both their fresh and aged cheeses.
Marcoot Jersey Creamery – Greenville, IL – Our favorite non-Southern vendor, Marcoot Jersey Creamery, is a seventh-generation, family owned dairy farm specializing cave-aged Illinois cheeses. Designed as a replica of the natural underground caverns found in their native country of Switzerland, the Marcoots hollowed out a man-made cave to provide a natural aging environment for their cheeses as well as to ensure energy efficiency and sustainability for their farm.
Non-Cheesey Friends of Note:
Tru Bee Honey – Franklin, TN
Porter Road Butcher – Nashville, TN
Dozen Bakery – Nashville, TN
Woodland Wine Merchant – Nashville, TN
Yazoo Brewing – Nashville, TN
Jackalope Brewing – Nashville, TN
Good People Brewing – Birmingham, AL