Though an accomplished poet, writer and English professor (at St Joe’s) as herself, we know Tenaya Darlington best as her alter ego, Madame Fromage, a cheese-centric blogger, magazine writer, tasting guide, and ambassador to the world of Di Bruno Brothers. Darlington’s work has been published in Cooking Light, Culture and Grid, among others, and she was named one of 140 most important foodies to follow on Twitter by Zagat in 2011. More recently, Darlington became the official in-house blogger for Di Bruno Brothers (it’s safe to assume she spent a little bit of time there as a Philly-based cheese blogger, anyway, right?) and began tasting through their vast and varied offering of cheeses from around the world. The result of this work is Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese, an absolutely gorgeous book that features pairings, recipes and stories from three-generations of Di Bruno family cheese mongering.
Win a copy of Di Bruno Brothers House of Cheese from Small Food! Details here.
Now established as the foremost expert on cheesy goodness in our little section of the world, I asked Tenaya to craft a Small Sixer for us that focused on great local cheese. Without further ado, here it is:
Six Great Local Summer Cheeses
1. Grass-fed Ricotta (Wholesome Dairy, Yellow House PA)
Few things are better for breakfast than fresh ricotta and berries with honey and granola. The pillowy texture of this grass-fed ricotta is superlative.
Look for Wholesome Grass-fed Ricotta at Greensgrow.
2. Fresh Burrata (Di Bruno Bros., Philadelphia PA)
Di Bruno Bros. makes burrata according to Italian tradition – this stuffed mozzarella is wrapped in leek leaves to illustrate its freshness (as long as the leaves are bright green, the cheese is fresh). Simply cut this baby in half and serve with garden tomatoes, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and some sea salt. The center is all plush cream, great for dipping.
Look for fresh burrata at Di Bruno Bros.
3. Shellbark Sharp II (Shellbark Hollow Farm, West Chester PA)
Goat cheese and honey are a sumptuous combination in summer – locally, this ultra flavorful chèvre is a favorite. It’s balanced and grassy without too much tang. Try it with honeycomb and stone fruit.
More information on Shellbark Hollow Farm
4. Puddle Duck (Hillacres Pride, Peach Bottom PA)
This Pennsylvania cream bomb pairs perfectly with Prosecco and berry jam. If you can’t find Puddle Duck, seek out Cherry Grove’s Buttercup Brie or Calkins Creamery’s Noble Road, two other downy disks with lush centers.
Look for Puddle Duck at Green Aisle Grocery and Headhouse Farmers’ Market.
5. Red Cat (Birchrun Hills Farm, Birchrunville PA)
This supple stinker makes a great patio cheese – it loves frisky beer. Try Yards Pale Ale or Sly Fox Saison VOS. Then add a plate of cured meats, plump green olives, and a dish of smoked nuts – it’s the season’s best cold supper.
More info on Birchrun Hills Farm
6. Crema de Blue (Valley Shepherd Creamery, Long Valley NJ)
On a picnic, few things are lovelier than an unctuous blue slathered onto baguette. Award-winning Crema de Blue has a sweet, vegetal taste – making it an ideal pairing for marinated artichokes.
Look for Crema de Blue at the Valley Shepherd stand in Reading Terminal Market.