Little Darling, A Cheese For The Equinox

Little Darling Cut in Half

So Monsieur Fromage tells me that autumn begins today at 4:44 p.m. This gives me a chance to honor the equinox with an autumnal cheese that I have been meaning to tell you about for months. Eons ago, it arrived on my doorstep from Darlington, Wisconsin. The cheesemaker, who discovered that I share the same last name as his town, offered to send me a wheel of “Little Darling” as an homage — and, in his note, he asked me for some feedback.

The drum of cheese arrived, a cave-aged stunner — and I called two cheese experts (both former cheesemongers) to lunch. We tasted, I took notes. Albert Yee, who has a thing for cave-aged beasties admired the rind: “It’s nice and musty, going into mustardy.” Paul Lawler, my go-to man for blunt praise laced with flowery vocabulary said, “It smells like a barn, but it has a nice lemony finish.” He added, “I would have thought it was a raw-milk cheese.”

High praise indeed.

Next, I called my friend Mike Geno, the cheese painter, to lunch. I knew that he would take in the golden glow and become smitten. I sent him back to his studio with a hunk, and not long after, this oil-based homage appeared.

Little Darling Mike Geno Portrait

Mike’s portrait captures the rustic beauty of this cheese, a British-style tough with a horse-radishy finish that I still think of — now, as the weather cools and I contemplate taking a walk in a wool wrap. The taste reminded me ever-so-slightly of Mrs. Kirkham’s Tasty Lancashire (the lemony notes), but Little Darling is more of a hot-stepper.

To Joe Burns, at Brunkow Cheese, this is my long-distance and long-overdue dedication: may your Little Darlings be harbingers of warmth and mustard in the coming months. And to those who wish to ring in the fall season, please reach for something cave-aged.


Note: Little Darling is sold under the Fayette Creamery label, a line of artisan cheese developed by Brunkow Cheese Co-op. Oddly, I couldn’t find a website for either company. 


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2 Responses to “Little Darling, A Cheese For The Equinox”
  1. Kelley says:

    I love that painting! Would look awfully nice in my kitchen 🙂

    • tdarlington says:

      Hey there, Kelley! Thanks for the comment. I’m loving the name of your blog! Can’t wait to check it out. A big hello from the desk over here at SJU. Miss yer face!

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