Disclaimer: As many of you know, I am a Murray’s Cheese Set-Up Specialist for Kroger. However, the following profile is my own and neither Murray’s nor Kroger influenced it in any way.
Every once in a while, a cheese comes along that is so special words can’t do it justice… this is one of those cheeses.
Hudson Flower begins life at Old Chatham Sheepherding Company in New York’s Hudson Valley. In 1993, Tom and Nancy Clark bought 600 acres of grassy fields in Old Chatham, New York to fulfill Tom’s childhood dream to raise a flock of sheep. Today, their farm is the largest sheep dairy farm in the United States. Tom and Nancy are involved in every aspect of the operation from tending the fields to cheesemaking.
Soon after making the small disks of soft-ripening sheep’s milk cheese, Tom and Nancy ship them off to New York City to the care of Murray’s Cheese Affineur, Brian Ralph. Brian, who has a degree in Neurobiology, uses his imagination and expertise to transform the young cheese into the herbaceous Hudson Flower. Some of his inspiration comes from the Corsican Fleur de Maquis, a sheep’s milk cheese coated with rosemary, fennel seeds and juniper berries. Brian coats the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company cheese with some of the same herbs and flowers the sheep eat on the farm. Included in the mixture are rosemary, lemon thyme, marjoram, elderberries and hop flowers which bring the terroir front and center with this cheese.
Brian then ages the cheese for a few weeks in the Murray’s caves located in Long Island City, allowing the rind to bloom around the herbal coating and infuse the sublime paste with woodsy and flowery notes.
The richness of the sheep milk, combined with the herbal notes, creates a luscious cheese that lingers on your palate and hangs around in your head. I can still “taste” it weeks later… amazing how the brain can conjure up past scents and tastes long after the event… this is one of those cheeses.
For more cheese profiles, please visit my website at marcellathecheesemonger.com.
Photo courtesy Murray’s Cheese.