Several weeks ago Sosia and I attended the Locavore class at the Cheese School of San Francisco. Sosia is a cheese aficionado, and she loves local food products, which made the Locavore class a perfect fit. In case you forgot, a locavore is someone that sustains their diet using food products found within a 100 mile radius of their home.
The Cheese School is a quaint establishment located in North Beach with an incredibly friendly staff, and very knowledgeable instructors. Our class was run by Sheana Davis, a Sonoma based cheese and wine maker, who gave wonderfully thorough explanations and histories about each cheese we sampled. The Cheese School conveniently provided us with a custom printout so that we could take notes on all the cheeses. As a cheese tasting amateur, I took this as an opportunity to jot down my thoughts so that I could remember what my taste buds enjoyed the most.
The instructor, Sheana, was awesome! I really want to take her beer and cheese class. Here are the notes, accompanied by my recommendations on what cheeses I thought were the best:
Delice de la Vallee (Sonoma – pasteurized cow & goat’s milk) – MY FAVORITE OVERALL!!!
Fantastic smooth, creamy, and melty feel. Easy to spread, and not too pungent or over-whelming. Nice white color and good looking whipped texture. I don't have a picture because the cheese isn't officially out on the market yet, but will be shortly.
Harley Farms, Monet (Pescadero – pasteurized goat’s milk) – WOULD BUY AGAIN
Nice and smooth, but somewhat of a likeable texture. Very subtle, with strong hints of herbs.
Pug’s Leap, Petit Marcel (Healdsburg – pasteurized goat’s milk)
Seems to dry the mouth the second it touches your tongue. Bland and hard to spread
Andante Dairy, Acapella (Petaluma – pasteurized goat’s milk) – WOULD BUY AGAIN
This will wake you up. Very potent rind, but mild in the end. Texture is nice and easy, and the color is pleasant.
Elk Creamery, Black Gold (Elk – pasteurized goat’s milk)
Waxy and has an odd texture. The rind is just too much, certainly something I won’t buy.
Redwood Hill Farm, Camellia (Sebastopol – pasteurized goat’s milk)
Tastes like a typical blue cheese. It’s got a fantastic rind, but the cheese isn’t soft enough. It feels like I could eat a lot of this, but not be satisfied.
Cowgirl Creamery, Mt. Tam (Petaluma – pasteurized cow’s milk) – WOULD BUY AGAIN
Always a winner! Very smooth and delicious with hints of herbs. No wonder it’s a local favorite.
Bellwether Farms, San Andreas (Valley Ford – raw sheep’s milk) – WOULD BUY AGAIN
This is a harder cheese, which has a very nice subtle flavor. Will probably kill to eat this cheese again.
Vella Cheese Company, Mezzo Secco (Sonoma – raw cow’s milk) – WOULD BUY AGAIN
Great rich and creamy taste, with an incredible texture of both hard and soft. The cheese does look hard though.
Pt. Reyes Farmstead, Original Blue (Pt. Reyes – raw cow’s milk) – WOULD BUY AGAIN
Wow! Powerful, yet controlled blue cheese. It’s like there’s a party in my mouth and everyone’s invited.
I'm not an expert, experienced, or even remotely trained cheese taster, so please, take all my reviews as you like. I hope this gives San Franciscans a better idea of the local cheeses that surround us.