A taste of Cato Corner Farm

If you’re ever at a loss for what to do when a giant, stinky box of cheese arrives at your doorstep, go buy a good bottle of wine, a good baguette, and invite some friends over.  Or just keep the smelly goodness to yourself — your preference.  We recently got such a package from Cato Corner Farm, courtesy of Pam (thank you!!), filled with healthy portions of Vivace, Dutch Farmstead, Bridgid’s Abbey, and Hooligan (their stinkiest, ripest, most gorgeous award winner).  They make some of the best raw milk cheese in the US, and they are only an hour or so away, so we were thinking of picking some of their varieties for our wedding (which we are self catering, picnic style, because we are nuts / poor grad students — whichever you prefer). Therefore, with utter seriousness, a bottle of Malbec, and a great deal of hunger, the taste test commenced.

James arranged the order, because he’s the resident cheese expert.  We started with the Vivace, which tastes kind of like a young, less salty Asiago (though the website describes it as a cross between a Gruyere and a provolone). This one was mild and pleasant and ended up making a delicious melting cheese.  Next was a 6 month Dutch Farmstead, which is sort of a raw milk Gouda.  It was also fairly mild, though richer than the Vivace, and somewhat creamier.  Bridgid’s Abbey, which is supposed to be a Trappist-style monastery cheese, finished the trio of older, slightly harder cheeses.  Now, I have no idea what a Trappist-style monastery cheese is supposed to taste like, but of the three harder cheeses, this last one probably had the most complex flavor profile, and was the most bewitching when melted over a bit of toast.

Now, for my personal favorite. That cheese in the top left corner of the picture above is called Hooligan. It smells of wet, dirty socks, but tastes creamy and complex, with a slightly strong aftertaste.  Now that is CHEESE, as it is meant to be.  And it’s the closest either of us have come to finding a proper Epoisses in the states.  I am, unfortunately, hopelessly addicted.  Good thing it’s hard to come by here — you really have to go to New York to pick up a smaller portion, or order a whole 1.3 lb wheel and pick it up at the farm.

All these cheeses are made with the same milk, so they all have a similar creamy flavor to them.  For the wedding, we’ll probably pick a few from different producers, just to get a bit of variety going.  As for the Hooligan? Well … It depends on whether we can figure out what to do with a whole 1.3 lb wheel of the stuff.  I have a few ideas…

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “A taste of Cato Corner Farm

  1. For some reason I’ve never really warmed up to Cato Corner. I like my cheeses hard and cheddary or gouda-y or parmesan-y and I don’t think they have too many of those. PS. I am Julia’s alter ego and inquiring minds want to hear more about your wedding plans! I’m looking forward to hearing how the self-catering goes!

  2. liz

    Oh, cool — I’ve added you to my RSS. There will definitely be more on the wedding after this next week; we’re going to start testing recipes soon. I just need to get through my thesis defense first. 🙂 We have a while, anyway — it’s not until October, but we are having a casual wedding in a State Park, with fireplaces and grills and maybe even some homemade marshmallow roasting, so i’m excited!

    And no worries — I think Cato Corner is excellent if you like softer raw milk cheeses, which I happen to be partial to (though it’s a special treat — most of the time, I am obsessed with cheddar — particularly raw milk cheddar, which they just started carrying at TJ’s here in CT). You might give the Dutch farmstead a try, though, if you happen to be at the Union Square market at the same time they are and they have some to sample. It might be a bit more up your alley.

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