Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Landmark Creamery Test Kitchen

I am a part of the WI Food Bloggers group on Facebook and a few weeks ago, the group was asked if anyone wanted to help out Landmark Creamery and test out their cheeses and write about them. I jumped at this opportunity and a few days later, a cooler with cheese arrived on my doorstep.

The creamery is currently sharing samples of their cheeses in some local grocery stores in the area, so I suggest following them on Facebook to see where they will be next so you can try these cheeses.

I was sent the Crescenza di Bufala and Nuage Noir. I had never heard of either of these cheeses and did a little research. The bufala is actually from water buffaloes in Wisconsin and is supposed to be similar to a mozzarella. I cut off a slice to taste and it was pretty salty from the brine. It did resemble fresh mozz but the salty was a little overpowering. Then I went to work playing with the cheese :)
 When I think of mozzarella cheese, I thought of bruschetta and had a jar of sun dried tomato bruschetta in my cupboards. I stopped at the store and bought some french loaves and got started.

 I started by spreading olive oil on the bread slices and lightly toasting them. I think I toasted a little too well for the first time in the oven, but I went with it.
 I then put the bruschetta spread on the toast and a piece of the bufala. On two I put the cheese on the bottom and the others I put the spread down first.
 Under the broiler they went for just a few minutes.
 I noticed the bread started to get a little dark and I worried the cheese didn't melt enough, but I had to pull them out.
 The cheese did brown so I dug in. It complemented the bruschetta really well. I wish the bread wasn't as toasty so it didn't take away from the flavor, but the cheese definitely resembled mozzarella once it was melted.
 I next decided to make a grilled cheese on the french bread. I used our left over butter from corn on the cob and it spread on the bread very easily without having to dirty a knife.
 I cut off a few pieces of the bufala and placed them on the bread.
 Then I put the lid on the pan and let it melt away.
 It toasted nicely.
 And it melted really well.
 As my mom and I joke, when cheese pulls like this in it's melty state - it's real cheese!
 As you can see, I gobbled up the grilled cheese and my mom had a bite. We agreed that with a nice fresh tomato slice and some spinach or basil, this cheese would make a fantastic caprese grilled cheese. I didn't have any spinach or basil or a tomato (kitchen fail!) so I will have to get some soon to try this out.
 Next we opened the Nuage Noir and instantly the smell overwhelmed us a bit. It is a potent-smelling cheese so I had no idea how it would taste.
 It was nice to see on the inside it was a soft cheese with a cream cheese texture.
 I spread some on a cracker and it had a fresh cream taste. It doesn't have a ton of flavor on it's own, which surprised me because of how smelly it was.
 To see how it paired, I added a little bruschetta on the cracker as well. It paired well and my thoughts instantly went to pairing it with smoked salmon (and if I would have been home maybe 15 minutes sooner, there would have been some for me to test with - another kitchen fail.)
I talked with Anna who shipped the items to me and thanked her for the chance to try out these cheeses. I asked for additional pairing ideas for the Nuage Noir and she suggested pairing it with fruits, nuts and honey. 

I will be having another test kitchen day to try more combinations with the cheese, but so far, I am very impressed with the cheese. We did have to double bag the Nuage Noir because the smell is stronger in the fridge. 

Landmark Creamery provided me the cheeses. Although I was provided the product, the review is my own honest opinion of the product.

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