Two weeks ago I was thrilled to find my Saturday interrupted by an e-mail from Premier Cheese Market announcing that after three years on a waiting list, it had finally received its first shipment of Pholia Farm cheeses. Pholia Farm’s Elk Mountain cheese is on the Wine Spectator list, but I hadn’t been able to find it in Minneapolis up to that time, so I rushed over to the shop right after my son woke up from his nap and grabbed my wedge before someone else did.

And I’m extremely glad I did! Ken let me sample all of the Pholia Farm goat’s-milk cheeses he had on hand, including the sumptuous Wimer Winter, but Elk Mountain was a stand-out as well. A raw-milk, aged cheese, its rind is washed with ale from the neighboring Wild River Brewery, and the Nigerian Dwarf goats are also fed the spent grain from the brewery, giving the cheeses a nutty, hoppy aroma and taste. Elk Mountain is a great snacking cheese – the cheesemaker recommends pairing it with fig and pear preserves – and is complemented by Viognier, Syrah, Champagne and full-bodied ales.

Fun fact: Pholia Farm is located in the same Rogue River valley that is home to Rogue Creamery, one of Colleen’s favorite homestate cheesemakers. Do I predict an Oregon cheese crawl in our future?

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