Thursday, July 4, 2013

Heber Valley Artisan Cheese

 Kim and I were driving from Park City to Provo this afternoon, and as we rounded a corner in Midway I saw the "Cheese" sign and asked to stop. Kim was talked into it when he saw the "Aggie Ice Cream Served Here" sign.

There's a little sampler table, so I helped myself to see what Snake Creek Sharp tasted like, and ended up buying two packages of this rich, bold-flavored cheese.

And, I had to buy some Aggiano, named for the Utah State University Aggies. The recipe was developed by USU's dairy plant, and Beehive Artisan Cheese in Uintah also makes it.  It has a strong parmesan-like flavor, but it's more creamy.

Because these are made by hand on the premises, they are a bit pricey -- a 6.1-ounce package of Aggiano was $7.86.  (Ouch!)  And a 4.6-ounce package of Snake Creek Sharp was $6.26.  Well, I guess a girl has to splurge once in awhile.  At those prices, these aren't the kind of cheeses you want to throw into your tuna casserole, although I'm sure it would improve the casserole.  If I buy artisan cheese,  I like to hide it where others won't find it (hence, the vegetable bin at the bottom of the fridge!) and just savor a slice every so often.

I talked to Mrs Kohler, one of the owners.  She said the dairy has been in the family for over 80 years. She said her son, an engineer, wanted to come back to Midway and raise his family the way that he was raised.  But, it's difficult to make a living in today's farming industry. So they decided to go for a niche market of selling raw milk and artisan cheeses.  Customers have to sign a waiver first recognizing that the milk is unpasteurized.  (I didn't buy any;  I'm OK with pasteurized milk.)

There's a window in the shop so that you can see the cheese being made.  Here's a shot of Russell Kohler at work.

The number of artisan cheesemakers in Utah is growing. And it's great!

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