Landmark’s Little Beauties

Landmark Creamery Beauties

I think, by now, you know I have a thing for small cheeses. I do. They’re like buttons, I want to collect them. Landmark Creamery, a tiny cheese outfit in Albany, Wisconsin that is softly launching this fall, offered to send me some wee offerings, and of course I said: send them tout de suite.

I literally waited by the door for the postman.

He knocked once, and it was all I could do not to invite him in because he stops by the house all the time with air mail packages, and I felt he must be curious. And besides, these cheeses — called Petit Nuage (wee cloud) and Nuage Noir (black cloud) — embody gifts that arrive by air.

Nuage Noir

Nuage Noir

You know how I love ash (I want to have an ashy bash), and until now I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a sheep’s milk cheese rolled in that dark material. So what a treat it was to cut this treasure open — and then eat it with dark berry jam.

Nuage Noir Cut

The paste was feather-lite, the taste very fresh. Raindrop fresh. What a perfect little treasure to eat before it snows. How does it differ from all those ashy goat pucks I’m always cawing about? Well, sheep’s milk is rich, rich, rich, so think of this as a raindrop in a fur coat.

Petit Nuage

Petit Nuage

Fresh sheep’s milk cheese packed into little thimble baskets comes out looking like this. Like tender buttons, etherial in texture and gently herbaceous. I marveled at how delicate Petit Nuage tasted, not the least bit sheepy. Imagine chèvre, but with a rounder palate mambo. I am making up words now. Petit Nuage is like chèvre with hips.

Meet Anna Landmark

So who is the creator of this magnificence? A new cheesemaker, Anna Landmark. I wrote to her, and she told me a funny story.

Anna Landmark

She started off with a single cow named Freckles who was such a hefty milker that Anna learned to make cheese to keep up with the supply. Over time, she decided to get her cheesemaking license, but she gave up the idea of dairy farming and now buys milk — sheep and buffalo — in order to support her neighbors.

I fell in love with the tradition of cheesemaking, the craft of it. It’s the epitome of slow food and so grounded in the essence of what makes a place: the soil, the grasses, the livestock, and the cultures and tastes of the people who live there. I just hope my passion and a sense of that history comes through in my cheese. –Anna Landmark

Anna’s fresh buffalo milk mozz, which she calls Crescenza di Bufala, is unlike any buffalo mozz I’ve tasted — fresh, curdy, basket-molded. Not stretched. Not chewy. Its sweetly bitter, the way I remember buffalo mozz tasting in northern Italy last summer. But it tastes truly wild. Untamed.

Crescenza

Where does Anna get her buffalo milk? From two farms in Plain, Wisconsin, where she currently makes cheese — at Cedar Grove, run by the esteemed Master Cheesemaker Bob Wills. In effect, Anna is a gypsy cheesemaker, much like a gypsy craft brewer.

Here’s what she says about working with buffalos:

Water buffalo milk is pretty glorious. It has twice as much fat as cow milk, and more protein and calcium, so you get this beautiful pure white rich and firm curd. But they are really tough animals to handle and milk! I have a lot of respect for these two farmers.

To read more about Landmark Creamery, which Anna launched in August, click here.

 

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Comments
One Response to “Landmark’s Little Beauties”
  1. mike says:

    great photos Madame Photage. The Nuage Noir looks incredible.

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