Our Cheese

At Hillsborough Cheese Company we make both goats’ milk and cows’ milk cheeses. We differ from other local cheesemakers in that we do not maintain our own milking herds; instead we purchase our milk fresh each week from local farmers. The reasons for this are two-fold: first, by purchasing our milk locally, we help support area farmers and continue our commitment to our local food economy. Second, because we are such a small operation, we’ve decided to focus foremost on hands-on, artisanal cheesemaking rather than the added commitment of maintaining large milking herds (and we have the utmost respect for those who do both!).

We make primarily traditional European-style cheeses, but occasionally we experiment with different cheese blends to suit local tastes. Our regularly produced cheeses can be broken down into three categories: soft, fresh cheeses, bloomy-rind cheeses, and aged cheeses. Check out some of the many varieties of cheese we make:

  • Chevre – one of our most popular cheeses, our chevre is made from fresh, pasteurized local goat milk, cheese cultures, and vegetable rennet. We make plain chevre (lightly flavored with salt), jalapeño chevre, sundried-tomato chevre, and a herbed chevre rolled in Herbes de Provence. At different times of the year we also experiment with season-specific specialty flavors like strawberry or pumpkin spice. These various flavors of chevre are great for snacking, make wonderful additions to any cheese plate, and are perfect for cooking (chevre cheesecake anyone?).
  • Bloomin’ Sweet Ash – while we may sell more chevre, we are particularly known for our bloomy-rind cheeses, and Sweet Ash is by far the most popular. Made in the traditional Valencay style from fresh, pasteurized local goat milk, cheese cultures, and vegetable rennet, our distinctive Sweet Ash cheese gets its namesake sweetness from an application of food-grade vegetable ash at the beginning of their aging period. We age our Sweet Ash at least 21 days until a suitable bloomy rind has formed, flipping the cheeses often to encourage even and robust bloom growth. The result is a creamy, gooey layer surrounding a delicious, chevre-like spreadable center that alternates between notes of sweetness and bitterness. Sweet Ash cheeses are the perfect party cheese, and are great served plain with crackers or a nice crusty piece of French bread. For a fun twist serve Sweet Ash on slices of apples instead of crackers and drizzle with some fresh honey.
  • Bloomin’ Lunitas – this cheese is the “cousin” of our Bloomin’ Sweet Ash. Crafted in the Chaource style, the Lunitas is made from fresh, pasteurized local cows’ milk following the exact same recipe as our Sweet Ash. Aside from the obvious difference in milk type, two key aspects set Lunitas apart from Sweet Ash; a distinctive cylindrical shape and a lack of vegetable ash. Lunitas is aged in the same manner and length as Sweet Ash, and the result is a beautiful little round of cheese with a bloomy rind and a melt-in-your-mouth interior. Lunitas is a great cheese to serve alongside Sweet Ash so your guests can see how virtually the same recipe made with different milks can produce two different styles of cheese.
  • Bloomin’ Decadence – our popular Camembert-style cheese, made with fresh, pasteurized local cows’ milk, cheese cultures, and vegetable rennet. Most people upon first look would think our Decadence is a brie, but in fact it is a camembert-style cheese. A key difference between a camembert and a brie is size – although the recipes for both are largely identical. Camembert’s small size allows it to ripen faster and develop a stronger taste and more pungent odor than brie. Our small wheels are an elegant addition to a dinner party, and are especially delicious served with honey or a fresh fruit jam.
  • Betta’ Feta – our Feta is made from fresh, pasteurized local cows’ milk and is dry-salted and aged before being brined to salty perfection. Unlike the dry, “crumbly” Feta you might be used to finding at the supermarket, our Feta is creamy, moist, and thick, and makes the perfect addition to pasta or salads. Try using our Feta in spanakopita for a great Greek treat!
  • Fresh cheeses – aside from our chevre, we offer a variety of other fresh cheeses (meant to be consumed within a few days of production). We make a cows’ milk mozzarella that we stretch by hand, a cows’ milk fromage blanc that is very similar to cream cheese, and a cows’ milk Farmer’s cheese that is a versatile crowd-pleaser, especially with kids.
  • Aged cheeses – we make a variety of aged, pasteurized cheeses from primarily cows’ milk.  Nearly all of our aged cheeses are aged at least sixty days, but oftentimes much longer in order to get that “perfect” taste. We rotate styles but some of our more regular offerings include Sophie’s Choice (a cows’ milk Gouda), Chicken Bridge (a cows’ milk Manchego-style) and Carolina Blue (a cows’ milk blue). We sell our aged cheeses almost exclusively at our various farmers’ markets, so come by to see what we have each week.
  • Specialty cheeses – throughout the year we make different specialty cheeses and cheese spreads to suit our customers’ tastes. Offerings include a spicy pimiento cheese made with jalapeño chevre (instead of mayonnaise), seasonal honey-fig chevre (and other local fruit flavors), and tangy Mediterranean spread.

8 thoughts on “Our Cheese

  1. Pingback: Tinnell’s Artisanal Cheese Selection | Shop Tinnells Finer Foods

    • Thanks for the question, Stephen. Here is some information about the type of feed the cows eat, taken directly from the Maple View Farm website (where we get our cow milk):

      Approximately one hundred fifty acres are sown in barley in the Fall to be harvested in the Spring. Also each Spring, one hundred thirty acres (130) of corn will be planted. In August, this corn will be cut for silage and stored in trench silos. The mild North Carolina climate makes the double cropping of corn and barley possible. Barley silage (with crimson clover), corn silage, grain (including ground corn and occasionally other grains) and whole cotton seed are mixed with the silage and fed free choice at the feed bunk. We grind our own grain on the farm. This mix is fed to increase the protein content of the milk. Protein is becoming more and more important to the people who drink milk. The protein content in the milk given by the Maview milking herd enhances the good taste of Maple View Farm milk. No rBST is used on the farm. Cows are fed from one of the trench silos twice a day. Heifers are fed in the pastures (where they live) or in the heifer breeding lot. Their diet consists of grass and a custom mix grain. The milking cows are kept in free stall areas while they are lactating.

  2. Pingback: May « Advanced Environmental Science

    • Hi, Stacey. Thank you very much for the inquiry about burrata! It is pretty darn good, we agree. We unfortunately do not make burrata. We did some experimentation last spring with it, but as we do not raise our own cows, obtaining cream (a required ingredient for the “stuffing”) is either costly or difficult to “skim” without a creamer. It is a wonderful cheese, without a doubt. We have been toying with ways to make mozzarella curd available (not stretched) to our customers in the coming year, so it may be possible for you to make it at home! We will keep you posted! Thanks for your interest in HCC!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s