Monday, February 2, 2009

Heartland Chèvre

My local cheese shop, Premier Gourmet, recently started carrying a new line of chèvre from Heartland Creamery. The Heartland lineup includes a natural (or plain) chèvre, plus several varieties that are rolled in an array of seasonings--e.g., fine herbs, lemon pepper, garlic & chive, and olive & pimiento.

Heartland also offers a chèvre log blended with dried cranberries, chopped pecans and a touch of cinnamon. This is the one I bought. It is a very pleasant blend of creamy, sweet, tangy, sour, fruity and nutty flavors.

Heartland Creamery is located in northeast Missouri. Their goat cheeses are made from the milk of 750 grass-fed, hormone-free Saanen goats. With their herd of 6000 Holsteins, they have become the largest dairy in MO in a very short period of time.

I don't usually buy "cheese-with-stuff-in-it," but I was initially attracted to the cheese because it had the most interesting packaging in the cheese case (cf. picture above). I don't know why more American cheesemakers don't utilize interesting and stylish packaging to showcase their products.

Another unique feature of Heartland Creamery is that all of the profits from the sale of their milks and cheeses go to support the faith-based recovery work of Heartland Ministeries. They provide housing, education, recovery programs, group homes, and vocational training for troubled adolescents and adults. I don't remember ever buying a cheese before that helped people.

Heartland also takes a lighthearted approach to its religious roots, playfully naming its habanero and jalapeño Gouda "Brimstone" and its aged Gouda "Methuselah" (after the oldest person mentioned in the Bible). I encourage you to try the interesting cheeses from this relatively new cheesemaker.

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