Celebrating American Cheese Month: Hillacres Pride Puddle Duck Creek

The second local cheese I’m featuring this month for American Cheese month is Hillacres Pride Puddle Duck Creek. I picked up this little round (2 1/2″ in diameter) of brie-like cheese at Hillacres stand at The Collingswood Farmers Market. I buy ground beef, steak, bacon and eggs regularly from Hillacres, and once in a while I treat myself to one of their farm made cheeses.

Puddle Duck is a bloomy rind* cheese that’s a bit stinky (yay for stinky cheese!) and very flavorful. It needs to be brought to room temperature to enjoy it fully. Like most cheeses of this type, I find it preferable to pair it with something a little sweet such as wildflower honey or some sort of fruit preserves. I tried this with both honey and some peach preserves I snagged at the Philly Food Swappers event from Food in Jars. Both were excellent pairings.

Hillacres Pride Puddle Duck Creek was Grid Magazine’s October Cheese of Month, reviewed by Madame Fromage. She has this insight about the beautiful, creamy yellow cheese  inside Puddle Duck’s rind.

I was struck by it’s golden interior — it looks like banana pudding. That’s a good sign. As I mention in my column that gold coloring tells me that the cows were pasture-raised. Cows can’t digest beta carotene in grass, so it shows up in the milk and subsequently in the cheese.

I like to know that my cheese comes from happy cows. And, I like that there is a brie-like cheese that I can buy from a local producer that I trust.

One of the great things about Hillacres Pride is that when the Collingswood Farmers Market closes at the end of November, I’m still able to get their products monthly until the market opens up again in May. They deliver to the site of the Collingswood Farmers market one Saturday a month during the winter months. Anyone can place an order of $25 or more and pick it up – already packaged. So if I want the Puddle Duck Creek cheese on my cheese tray for neighborhood holiday party in December, I can have it.

Artisanal Cheese explains bloomy rind cheese like this: “Many soft cheeses like Brie, Camembert, and Triple-Creams are mold-ripened. Mold-ripening refers to the inoculation of milk or the spraying of cheese rind with particular strains of fungus, which break down the paste of the cheese, softening it. These are the microorganisms that are responsible for the deliciously oozy texture of ripe Brie. Bloomy rind cheeses are inseminated with yeast which develops a light fur cover of mold during their affinage.”


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