Last week we celebrated one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon an American. The whole nation watched as a man was chosen to serve a purpose greater than himself, as he committed to a difficult-but-important job that our communities depend on during dark times. This momentous occasion came, of course, when Bernie Sanders became a meme.
To celebrate his promotion to this highly revered position in our society, I felt called to honor Senator Sanders in the most loving way I know how: with an imagined plate of really really good American cheeses.
Photo Credit: The Cheese Professor
Brebis by Blackberry Farm (TN)
As we can all see by Bernie’s style choices throughout his time in politics, he isn’t one for too much floof or fanciness. His wife once said, “If Bernie has seven sweaters, that’s three too many for him.” My man keeps it simple and doesn’t want anything too flashy distracting from the key elements of his speech, outfit or cheese plate. That’s why he would love this Brebis from Blackberry Farm in Tennessee. Made from sheep’s milk in a similar style to French Chèvre, Brebis is as-simple-as-could-be and gets right to its delicious point. This cheese is so soft and fluffy that it comes in a container without even a rind to speak of. It’s great for spreading on toast or a fresh croissant. It’s also very nice paired with jams or other sweet things, but Bernie probably likes it simple and pure.
Photo Credit: Jasper Hill
Alpha Tolman by Jasper Hill Farm (VT)
As I’m sure you expected, I have to include a classic Vermonter on this plate dedicated to a classic Vermonter. Hailing from Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro, Alpha Tolman is an alpine style cow’s milk cheese with a firm texture and layers of flavor reminiscent of butter, caramelized onions, roasted meat and sometimes pineapple. Like Bernie, this cheese has some age on it, but that maturity only brings complexity and depth which we could all benefit from appreciating. I’m positive that Uncle B would love this strong, nuanced cheese that helps to bring pride and deliciousness to his home state.
Photo Credit: Nolechek's Meats
Marieke Smoked Gouda by Penterman Farm (WI)
In my opinion, Bernie is a smart man. Part of Bernie’s brilliance includes his belief that marijuana should be legal throughout the United States. To honor Bernie’s commitment to making this a reality, I wanted to include a cheese that’s got a little bit of smoke on it. While Marieke’s Smoked Gouda gets cold smoked over hickory instead of the good stuff, it is a well-balanced option for a tasty cow’s milk cheese. This subtle cheese has notes of sweet caramel and fresh cream, along with a light smoky flavor that is more reminiscent of a summertime campfire than a college dorm room. I’ve read that Bernie is a big fan of grilling so I think he would enjoy this cheese melted on top of a burger, perhaps paired with some semi-legal greenery.
Photo Credit: Birchrun Hills Farm
Birchrun Blue by Birchrun Hills Farm (PA)
We all know how Mr. B feels about businesses: he likes them small and empowered. There is no better example of a small-scale powerhouse business than Birchrun Hills Farm in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania. This family business is owned and operated solely by legendairy cheesemaker, Sue Miller, her husband Ken and their two sons. Thanks to their hard work producing some seriously delicious farmstead cheeses, PA is gaining more and more attention as a curd nerd’s paradise. Their flagship blue cheese is the one I think Bernie would like the best. Its fudgy texture combined with a bit of creaminess and some not-too-overpowering spicy blue notes make it the perfect cheese for him to snack on when he’s on the go and feeling peckish. I should warn him, however, that this cow’s milk beauty can be a bit crumbly. Better to take the mittens off for this one.