Or at least it was certainly the best cheese I’ve ever had. I decided to deviate from the normal recipe post, and instead do more of a product post. Today, during my internship as part of our Community Rotation, we had an Agricultural Day Tour, where we visited the Apple Valley Creamery, the Caputo Bros Cheese Factory (a part of the creamery), the Hollabaugh Bros. Inc Orchard, and then the Dickinson Sustainable Farm.
The creamery/cheese making was by far the coolest, and this is coming from someone who rarely ever drinks milk. First, they showed us the dairy cows, which they treated very well, and they were all grass fed. The cows were super cute.
Then they took us into the creamery where they pasteurized and homogenized the milk. We also got to see it being bottled. I fell in love with the bottles – glass bottles. Like the kind you see in old movies where they get the milk delivered, then they put the bottles out on the stoop for them to be recollected and filled again. That’s just how they do it at Apple Valley Creamery. Seriously, look how adorable these glass bottles are:
I love these. I had to buy the half and half (first picture) just to get that adorable little bottle, even though I don’t drink half and half.
After the milk, we saw how the Caputo Bros make their cheese. This was really fascinating to me. Apparently this is the only place in the country that makes the cheese properly – ie, like they do in Italy. The couple that started this cheese making business moved to Italy for a year to study culinary arts, came back to the states, and started making the best cheese ever. What makes their cheese so fantastic (and different) is that they use rennet (the enzyme found in cows’ stomachs) to culture the cheese, and the rennet breaks down the lactose as it ferments the milk, thus if you’re lactose intolerant, you won’t have a problem with these cheeses. Apparently in this country, everyone uses citric acid to do the “fermenting” (because it is much quicker), but which does not break down the lactose, and certainly doesn’t produce the same taste.
Here’s a photo of the one owner (I think his name was Dave…) testing the pH of the milk to see if it was ready to add the rennet:
They sell the frozen curd, which you can buy and then thaw, and stretch yourself into the most delicious fresh mozzarella you’ve ever tasted. Here is the other owner stretching the mozzarella for us. First, you break it into small pieces, then you pour hot water on it, and it starts to meld together. Then, you use a wooden spoon (or something similar) to allow it to stretch out:
then you stretch it some more….
then you form it into little balls of deliciousness…
She then proceeded to make an incredible Caprese salad for us using tomatoes and fresh basil from her garden. It was so unbelievably good.
I can’t wait to get my hands on some more of this cheese. Which lucky for me, shouldn’t be too difficult. Apparently they sell it at Tastemakers, the olive oil and vinegar shop in Lemoyne in the Hoover Plaza. It’s only a matter of time…..actually, I may go tomorrow.