Autumn’s fast approaching, but there’s still a few weekends left for sunny Sundays overlooking the Hudson river, enjoying some cheese, crackers and wine. On the board this day were two local goat cheeses: Barkeater Buche, a soft-ripened, ashed goat’s milk log from Aasgard Farm in the Adirondack mountains of New York; and Sonnet, a goat’s milk tomme from Big Picture Farm, a small goat dairy located in Townshend, Vermont.
Asgaard Farm and Dairy is a family owned and operated farm located in the Adirondack Mountains, just outside of the village of Au Sable Forks. Asgaard means “farm of the gods” in Norse mythology and is the name given to the land by Rockwell Kent, artist, writer and farmer and former owner of the property. Asgaard was established as his home in the early 1900’s. David Brunner and Rhonda Butler acquired the farm in 1988, putting it back into production in 2003. In addition cheeses like the Barkeater or the Valencay-inspired Whiteface, Aasgard also sells caramels, soaps and other goat’s milk products.
The Barkeater, inspired by the classic Loire Valley style Buche (French for “log”), was just beginning to ripen under the rind, developing a buttery creamline that oozed out over the fudgy, bright white interior as the cheese warmed. Flavors were mild, bright and citrusy with a nice tang and a good salt balance.
Big Picture Farm was started in 2010 by Louisa Conrad and Lucas Farrell, and they are best known for the delicious caramels and other sweet confections that they create with the milk of their 46 goats. With flavors like Sea Salt, Maple Cream, Bourbon, Chai and many more, these award-winning caramels are well worth seeking out. About 2 years ago they started making cheese as well; I first spotted the Sonnet at the 2014 Vermont Cheesemaker’s Festival in Shelburne, VT. The Sonnet comes in 3-5 pound wheels and has a rocky-hued, rough-textured rind with a musty aroma of cave walls. Inside, the firm, slightly flaky paste is pale gold in color and dense. Flavors are creamy, nutty and grassy, mild but with a subtle goaty kick.
The cheese were accompanied by Rye Caraway crackers, a new product made in-house at Talbott & Arding in Hudson, NY (where the cheeses were purchased as well). I must warn you, these crackers are addictively delicious and while they go beautifully with any cheese board, you might have to hide them to keep them from getting gobbled up before the cheese goes out.
The wine is a Vully white, purchased during a recent trip to Switzerland’s Fribourg region, at Fromagerie Marsens-Vuippens. The wine comes from the same region as Mont Vully cheese, a wine-washed alpine wheel (previously featured here ).