On Saturday, I stopped by The Reading Terminal Market after an awesome Philly Area Food & Drink Writers Meetup planned by Wendy from La Phemme Phoodie and Philly Homegrown (more about that later this week). I was looking for local cheese. I first went to Salumeria. When I was there about a year ago, they had several local cheeses highlighted on their chalkboard. As I scanned the cases, I didn’t see a single New Jersey or Pennsylvania cheese this time. When I asked, I was told that they had decided that the local cheeses they had carried weren’t of very good quality and they were too expensive. Okay, then.
I moved on and headed to the Fair Food Farmstand where I knew I’d find some local choices. I picked out a small wedge of Clover Creek Creamery‘s Tussey Mountain cheese. Clover Creek is in Williamsport, PA, and they produce and sell Grass-based raw milk, Artisan raw milk cheeses, and grass-based beef.
Look at that beautiful cheese pictured above. It’s as delicious as it looks. The Clover Creek website describes it as a their “twist on an Emmenthaler Swiss.” They named it “in honor of the large mountain we see in front of our farm every day. It is drier and saltier than some of our other cheeses but lacks the traditional Swiss holes or ‘eyes’. For a blind* cheese, it has a great buttery Swiss flavor.”
I tasted the cheese before I checked out the description on their website. Swiss was not the first thing that came to my mind. It was lacking the overt nuttiness that many Swiss cheeses have. I actually wasn’t sure what to compare this to. Despite the dry, crumbly texture, it had a creaminess to it in the mouth. The smell was sharp, bordering ever-so-slightly on the stinky cheese side, but just slightly. I immediately wanted to put it on a burger, which I did not get to do, but I saved a bit to try on a burger later this week.
I tried the Tussey Mountain cheese with a few sips from a bottle of Cabernet Franc I had open. A very nice pairing. It wasn’t a NJ Cab Franc, but a Virginia one that I had opened the night before. There are many excellent NJ Cabernet Francs, and I can imagine this would go nicely with Sharrott’s Cabernet Franc or even Unionville’s Big ‘O’ that’s a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. I’m also thinking that DiMatteo‘s Merlot would be a good choice with this cheese.
I’m happy to have discovered this cheese, and I hope next time I’m at Reading Terminal Market they’ll still have it so I can pick up a larger wedge. I’m a little concerned that I’m not going to be able to let what’s left in the fridge stay there until burgers this weekend.
If you want to try this Tussey Mountain, check out this list of stores that carry it. There aren’t any in NJ, but there a few in Philly.
*”Blind” is the term given to a Swiss cheese without holes or “eyes.”