I was worried about lots of things when I began this little local adventure, but none stumped me more than cheese. I’d simply never had any local cheese that I cared to have again. I thought it was just going to be something I’d have to skip on along with avocados, limes, and olives (the latter is killing me! Really, why can’t there be groves of olive trees straddling the Ohio River. Why!).
Shows what I know. I walked into Curds and Whey, my little cheese shop in the North Market, and asked if they had any Ohio cheeses. The nice man behind the counter just smiled and pulled out a container of goat cheese made in...you’ll never, ever guess...Cleveland. Mariann Janosko and Gerald Onken produce the cheese in a 700 square foot warehouse. Luckily they get the goat milk from a little town Southeast of Cleveland, called Mantua. It’s fantastic.
It seems a little suspect, but the cheese is creamy and luscious, without a trace of that chalky taste inferior ones can leave in your mouth. Much like the butter and milk, the cheese is something so much better than the mass produced stuff I was buying before, I’m never going back.
Not all the Ohio cheese I've had has been stellar. While they can make some mean butter, I haven’t met an Amish cheese I’ve liked. I guess it’s a little ridiculous to lay a blanket statement over a whole people -I’d love to be proved wrong- but it tastes too bland for my taste.
I’m grateful for what I was able to find. Such joy it is to have cheese. And these people made it!