Common Ground Fair: Maine Cheese Mecca

Going to college in Maine actually has its upsides. The Common Ground Fair is one of them. Despite being a hardcore New Yorker, the occasional overdose of rural life is quite enjoyable. I’ll skip all the farmers’ stands, petting zoos, alpaca salesmen, and craftsmen to dash right to the good part… THE CHEESE.

Of course the booth for which I was on the hunt  was the Maine Cheese Guild stand. The creameries featured were Fuzzy Udder, Kennebec Cheesery, and Balfour Farms. After some cheese discussion and tasting, I purchased my three favorites. Fuzzy Udder Sheep’s milk Brie, Kennebec Woodside, and Swallowtail Honey & Rose Fromage.

Fuzzy Udder Sheep’s milk Brie

The Sheep’s milk Brie is intriguing, to say the least. Brie traditionally is purely cow milk and cream cheese, whose rich milky paste plays with the white mold (Penicillium candidum). Yet this Sheep’s milk brie doesn’t need the cream for a rich paste, the fatty sheep’s cheese is complimented with a classic white mold that has a pinch of yellow mold (Crisosporum Sufurum) that give a slight bitter kick that rounds out this cheese perfectly.

Kennebec Woodside

This 4-6 month aged semi-hard cow’s milk tomme is an interesting take on simple flavors. Its recognizable acidity and saltiness catch the gastronome’s attention. The finish is sweet and nutty, which is in stark contrast to the start of this cheeses’ varietal, making it one of those unique experience cheeses.

Swallowtail Honey & Rose Fromage

Hands down the most eclectic cheese at the booth. Its yellow beeswax exterior with a rose petal on top catches the eye. Once you break past the waxy shell, there lies a fresh cow’s milk paste. It’s certainly an experience worth having. The texture resembles a ricotta coupled with a slight sweetness of the honey that is expertly balanced with the tang of the fresh cheese. If you want a one-of-a-kind cheese experience, this one is for you.

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