Three Cheeses from North America

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Interesting fact: the Pilgrims may have had cheese stored in their rations on the Mayflower, but the first commercial cheese factory didn’t open in the United States until the mid-19th century.

Another interesting fact: Some excellent cheeses are made throughout Canada, most notably in Quebec — the problem is that they’re often difficult to find outside of their own provinces.

Here are three cheeses (and cheesemakers) from the United States and Canada.

The U.S.’s major cheese-producing regions.
The U.S.’s major cheese-producing regions.
  • Bellwether Farms: California’s first sheep dairy (started in 1992), Bellwether Farms creates some of the nation’s finest cheeses, including the award-winning San Andreas, Pepato, and sheep milk ricotta, and yogurt. Bellwether’s line now includes a few varieties made from cow milk (sourced from a neighboring Jersey dairy), like the buttery Carmody and crème fraiche.

  • Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery: Originally dedicated to crafting European-style dairy products, including butter, crème fraiche, mascarpone, and cheese, Vermont Butter and Cheese has gone on to produce an expanded range of excellent cow and goat milk cheeses (seek out Coupole and Bonne Bouche), as well as mentor new cheesemakers.

  • Fromagerie Le Détour: This Quebec creamery produces outstanding cow, goat, sheep, and mixed milk cheeses, including Le Clandestine (a cow and sheep milk washed-rind cheese) and Grey Owl (an ash-coated, surface-ripened goat milk variety).

    Key cheesemaking regions in Canada.
    Key cheesemaking regions in Canada.

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