Though Colleen introduced us (and, hopefully, the president-elect, whom I’m sure is reading this blog) to some fabulous cheeses local to Washington, D.C., we can’t overlook the cheesy offerings of Obama’s home state of Hawaii. Hawaii may not be the first state that comes to mind when you think about cheese, but there are two great cheesemakers from the islands that you can visit if you can tear yourself away from the beach for a few hours.

Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)/Ron Dahlquist

You can find Surfing Goat Dairy on the slopes of Haleakala Crater. Photo credit: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA)/Ron Dahlquist

During a trip to Maui three years ago, I discovered a brochure for the Surfing Goat Dairy, a small goat-cheese farm owned and operated by German expatriates Thomas and Eva Kafsack. Naturally, I wanted to visit. My husband rolled his eyes. But since it was on the way back to our cottage from the Haleakala Crater, I convinced him to stop at the farm one day. We were the only visitors at the time, which gave me plenty of time to taste all the wonderful goat cheeses that Surfing Goat Dairy makes: fresh chevres studded with herbs and flavorings and aged cheeses, too. I brought home a selection of the fresh chevres for my goat-cheese-loving friend and co-worker and kept the delicious Purple Rain chevre (mixed with lavender) for myself. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to find Surfing Goat cheeses outside Hawaii, but the Kafsacks do ship the cheeses worldwide.

The Big Island of Hawaii is also home to a goat-cheese operation, the Hawaii Island Goat Dairy. Located on 10 acres of a former macadamia-nut orchard, the farmstead dairy has been open since 2001. Owners Dick and Heather Threlfall each specialize in a cheese – Dick makes the Big Island Feta, while Heather is responsible for the Big Island Goat Cheese, which is available plain or flavored with dill and garlic, macadamia nut basil pesto, rocoto pepper or chipotle pepper. The Web site doesn’t offer any information on buying the cheeses on the mainland, but both cheeses can be found throughout the islands on restaurant cheese plates.

Do you know about any other Hawaiian cheesemakers? Have you had an interesting cheese experience while visiting Hawaii? Share the details with us!