Cheeses of Bohemian Creamery

One of Sonoma County’s most creative artisanal creameries, Bohemian Creamery offers a variety of goat, cow, sheep, and bufala milk cheeses.

Bohemian Creamery is a one-of-kind creamery with over 17 different cheeses on its roster. Owned by Lisa Gottreich, it lies just a mile outside downtown Sebastopol California on a hilltop overlooking the Laguna de Santa Rosa, the Mayacama mountains and their herd of Alpine dairy goats.

It’s Lisa’s creativity that makes this place so unique. Each cheese looks, smells and tastes different than any cheese you’ve ever tried. Lisa mixes milks and tries out combinations of cultures that make her tiny creamery explode with passion and color. You will find her cheeses on the menu at some of the best Bay Area restaurants.

With goats on-site, and spring clover enriching their milk, the wild blue rye molds powder the natural rind cheeses and the salty marine layer infuses the aging rooms. It is here where the inspiration for all Lisa’s unique goat, sheep and cow cheeses are born. Best of all, the shop is open and Lisa leads a fantastic tour that truly explains how cheese is made. You will walk away so well-informed.

Twist & Shout – Shaped from a 1,200 year old remedy presented to the Queen of Sicily to lift her from her dark spirits. A sheep’s milk cheese infused with saffron and toasted peppercorns then cooked for hours in its own whey before it is aged for a three month minimum. Smaller format is dipped into beeswax for a softer, sweeter confection.
Photo by Lena Karalnik
Bo Peep – a small, semi-soft round of bloomy ripened sheep milk cheese, mild and richly moist. Perfect with fresh fruit or compote. Photo by Mission Cheese
Boho Belle – Is made with organic Jersey cow milk in the Bel Paese tradition. Each wheel is aged 6-8 weeks to allow for the natural development of geotrichum, a thin layer of white mold that enhances the vanilla flavors of this soft, rich cheese and helps maintain its deep, yellow rind. A semi-soft paste, Boho Belle is the perfect finish to any dessert. Its creamy texture and subtle finish pair nicely with bolder wines and fresh fruit.

Poco Loco – a soft-ripened wonderfully gooey round of bright white delectable water buffalo milk cheese laced with a sprinkling of Italian ground coffee bean for something entirely different. Balanced between fresh and ripe, perfect with summer salads, bread and fruit, but with enough power to sidle up to bolder wines.

Surf and Turf – an organic goat’s milk cheese ripened to a soft thickness in a St. Maure style cylinder, then rolled through a layer of Sonoma Coast harvested toasted nori seaweed and lightly aged.

Photo by: Macphail Wines

For shop and tour information, click HERE.

Central Coast Creamery’s New Shop in Santa Cruz

Come check out the cheesiest new spot in Santa Cruz, California.

Photos – Central Coast Creamery

Santa Cruz is known for it’s scenic coastal views, surf spots and of course its famous boardwalk. Now you can find some of California’s best cheese in town. Last month, Central Coast Creamery opened its fantastic shop in Abbott Square Market.

There you can find 100% domestic cheeses. Apart from Central Coast Creameries popular cheeses, you’ll find Oakdale Cheese, Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese, Cascadia Creamery, Valley Ford Creamery, Nicasio Valley Creamery, Jasper Hill Farm, Cowgirl Creamery, Beehive Cheese, Bellwether Farms and Farmgirl Creamery.

You’ll also find sheep milk and cow milk ice cream from Negranti Creamery.

To celebrate their one month anniversary, they just recently launched their delectable grilled cheese menu.

Whether you’re heading to Santa Cruz to hit the waves or to play some carnival games at the Boardwalk, stop by Central Coast Creamery at Abbott Square Market to round up your trip.

Central Coast Creamery, Abbott Square Market

725 Front St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

(831) 535-8079

Pedrozo Dairy & Creamery

I love talking to Tim Pedrozo about the issues of small dairies. Because he’s a dairyman and I grew up on a dairy and manage a farm. We’re both looking for solutions.

Cows grazing at Pedrozo Dairy and Creamery

I’d been meaning to visit Tim’s farm for years. I finally made it. I didn’t know what to expect, but what I saw was so – dare I say it – delightful. Tim and his family have collected an assortment of different breeds of cows. And there are just a handful. Maybe 25. And they wander around right outside their home.

Tim takes care of the cows. His son Tom makes the cheese. His daughter Laura does the marketing. His wife Jill works both off the farm and on.

The Pedrozo Family with one of their award-winning cows.

The cheese is fabulous. It’s raw, tasty and great to eat on its own or in recipes. As a matter of fact, while celebrating Raw Milk Cheese Day, they had a crockpot full of homemade Mac ‘n Cheese that was to die for.

The Pedrozos show their cattle at various fairs, often winning top honors. A couple of times a year, they open their farm where you can get up close with the cows and buy wheels of cheese at a very reasonable price. They also ship cheese direct to your door.

Pedrozo Dairy and Creamery is located in Orland, in the north Central Valley, near Chico. I enjoyed my visit. You can stop by yourself during the Sierra Oro Farm Trail Passport Weekend on October 12th and 13th.

If you have a chance, pick up some of their cheese at your local store. Check where it’s sold HERE.

Sign at Pedrozo Dairy and Creamery

Orland Farmstead Creamery

Paul Schmidt of Orland Farmstead Creamery, stokes the fire.

Paul Schmidt, a shy man of few words, heaves another log into the wood burning oven. It turns out that the water for washing the barn and pasteurization of milk is heated this way. No propane used here. It’s not a throw-back, as much as ingenuity.

I made a trip to visit three cheesemakers in the North Sacramento Valley, looking forward to a spring road trip. I found a thriving community of small dairies, including the industrious Orland Farmstead Creamery.

Paul Schmidt is a third generation dairyman and he has just 25-30 milking Holsteins. And one bull. And that bull, large as it is, will follow Paul wherever he goes.

Valerie Miller, who started out by teaching cheesemaking, is the cheesemaker and she also lives on the farm.

Valerie Miller and Paul Schmidt of Orland Farmstead Creamery

Valerie makes several fresh cheeses including Fromage Blanc, Feta, Queso Fresco, fresh Mozzarella packed in brine, and Ricotta, a cheese that lands somewhere between cottage cheese and ricotta. All cheeses are farmstead. Meaning the cheese is made from the milk of their own farm.

From April-September, tours are held on the 4th Saturday of the month. If you’re looking to see how a small farm works, this is the place to visit. Book a tour now.

Daily Driver – First Creamery in San Francisco – Ever!

San Francisco has never had cheese made in its city limits. Until now.

Rachel forms freshly made Jersey butter at Daily Driver, located in Dogpatch.

Located within a wide-open industrial space, and just behind a large viewing window, cheese and butter from fresh Jersey milk, are being made. I had a blast watching golden-yellow butter being molded by hand.

Quark, made with Jersey milk from the Silva Family Dairy

Daily Driver is a bagel shop (wood-fired bagels are made on site) and a creamery, and also includes the coffee roaster, Red Bay Coffee. Find your own nook in this vast space to sit and eat, or pick up cheese, bagels or coffee to go. Everything is delicious. I can attest. From lobster roll bagels to Turkish egg with quark, I tried all that my stomach allowed.

Wood-fired bagels are made on site.

The project is a collaboration between Tamara Hicks & David Jablons of Toluma Farms and Tomales Farmstead Creamery, and their long time cheesemaker, Hadley Kreitz, who makes Daily Driver‘s cheese, and her husband, David Kreitz, who built the wood-fired oven and developed the bagel recipes. In addition, Oakland’s Red Bay Coffee roasts their beans in the space.

The wide open space of Daily Driver.

Daily Driver is located in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco, at 2535 3rd Street. Hours: Sat & Sun, 7am to 3pm; Wed-Fri, 6am to 3pm.

Retro t-shirts and other swag are available on site.

Step Out to Stepladder

I wind around a narrow, forested road, about six miles off Highway 1 near Cambria on the Central Coast, thinking I’ve gone too far, until the sky opens and – voila – there is the hidden gem of Stepladder Creamery.

The farm, founded in 1871, with a central open field surround by barns and frolicking LaMancha goats, is the run by third generation farmer, Jack Rudolph, and his wife Michelle. They make cheese in their 100+ year-old barn. The farm is magical.

Jack & Michelle make goat cheese Spring through Fall in their tiny creamery tucked away away in the barn’s corner. Cow milk cheeses are made in the winter. This is in addition to the avocados, cherimoyas and passionfruit, also grown on site. There are also pigs and cattle. Wow.

Paso Vino, soaked in Syrah, ages on the rack.

The best part is, you can visit. Seasonal farm and creamery tours can be booked online. Spring tours allow you to play with the tiny kids (baby goats). And then they serve you cheese.

Right now, Stepladder’s Cabrillo, a Spanish-style semi-firm cheese made with a combination of cow and goat milk, is on promotion at Whole Foods Market in Northern California region. Whole Foods suggests pairing Cabrillo with the slow-roasted La Saison Herbs De Provence Almonds. However you decide pair it…you’ll enjoy.

Fiscalini Cheese

An American original with Swiss roots.

The year is 1886, when Mateo Fiscalini emigrates from Switzerland with his family. First finding work on the railroad, he eventually settles all the way west in Cambria, California.

In 1912, Mateo’s son, John Baptiste Fiscalini, a graduate from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, purchases 160 acres of land in Modesto. Two years later he starts a dairy farm with ten cows.

By 1995, two generations later, the Fiscalini farm has a large herd of Holstein cows. And in 2001, John Fiscalini, the grandson of John Baptiste, who has dreamt of making cheese, is introduced to Mariano Gonzalez, master cheddar-maker from Paraguay. Mariano develops a bandage-wrapped cheddar, sweeping up many awards, and giving British cheeses a run for their money.

Today, Fiscalini Cheese produces award-winning cheeses with the knowledge and spirit of four generations of family behind them. And, best of all, you can visit them.

Stop by their farm and creamery (yes, the cows are right there!) to pick up cheese in their front office. If you feel like making it a bigger cheese journey, Fiscalini can be just one of your stops on the Central Valley Cheese Loop #1.

This month you can find Fiscalini’s San Joaquin Gold on promotion at Whole Foods Market in Northern California. San Joaquin Gold is an Italian-style, semi-hard cheese made from raw cow’s milk. It is named after the beautiful San Joaquin valley where it is made.

Laura Chenel Started it All

Photo courtesy of Laura Chenel

Laura Chenel and Alice Waters of Chez Panisse created salad history.

Laura Chenel, a real person, began making cheese in the 1970s in Sonoma County. After one goat turned to many, and she had to figure out how to use the milk, she began making cheese. After stumbling a bit, she headed to France, to learn from other cheesemaking families.

Once back in U.S., Laura began selling her now, stellar cheese. Alice Waters, the owner of Chez Panisse, tried it, and fell in love. She began ordering 50 pounds a week, while creating a now-familiar recipe. Alice breaded and baked slices of the Laura’s chèvre (Chevre, by the way, is the French word for cheese, and is used to refer to fresh, spreadable goat cheese), then laid the disks on a bed of mesclun greens. Voila! Goat cheese salad was born.

Photo Courtesy of Laura Chenel

Many other goat cheesemakers followed in her footsteps, making goat cheese a national staple.

In 2006, Laura sold her company to Rians, a French company owned by the Triballat family, who later also purchased Marin French Cheese Company.

Chevre is not only a great topping for salads, you can put it on pizza or pasta. You can also use it as a substitute in recipes calling for sour cream or ricotta. It has a wonderful bite for those who love tang in their foods. This chèvre comes plain or flavored with various herbs.

Photo Courtesy of Laura Chenel

Though Laura Chenel is not open to the public, you can pick up cheese at the Marin French and picnic by the lake, or one of many other retail shops.

This month Whole Foods is promoting Laura Chenel’s Chabis during “Build your own California Cheese Platter” and suggests pairing it with Candied Lemon & Hazelnut Bittersweet Chocolate Bar by Charles Chocolates.

The Cottage Cheese is Back!

Cowgirl’s Cottage Cheese is unlike any you’ve had before.

Most people know Cowgirl Creamery for its flagship cheese, the decadent bloomy-rinded triple cream Mt Tam. But Cowgirl actually began – more than 20 years ago – with fresh cheese, which offered not only a quick-to-market turnaround but an ideal way to showcase the high quality organic cow’s milk being produced by the Straus Family Dairy on Tomales Bay in West Marin.

Fromage blanc and crème fraiche were among the first cheeses to be turned out of Cowgirl’s small creamery in Point Reyes Station, along with their clabbered cottage cheese, a unique creation that was nothing like the gummy, small curd cheese that you’d find in many supermarkets. Over the years, Cowgirl’s cottage cheese developed a loyal following. But unfortunately, its production became too much for the small creamery to handle, and in 2012 the company decided to stop making it.

Last year the cottage cheese faithful rejoiced when Cowgirl, with the opening of a new, larger creamery in Petaluma, was able to begin producing this fresh cheese again. The two-day process starts with skimmed milk, which is cultured and left to set and develop flavor overnight. The coagulated milk is then cut into large, pillowy curds, which are dressed in a mixture of cultured milk, or “clabber,” and crème fraiche.

Cowgirl cottage cheese is available at shops throughout the Bay Area, and is starting to make its way to retailers across the country. It can also be found in the specialty case at Northern California Whole Foods stores under the name “Curds & Cream.”

5 New Cheesemakers to Visit

Get out the Lactaid, it’s time for a road trip!

This article by Sarah Stierch originally appeared on North Bay Voyager


The friendly ladies at Fresno’s Rocky Oaks Goat Creamery. (Courtesy photo)

California is one of the cheese capitals of the world. Our fair state has 80 creameries producing every type of cheese under the sun from every corner of the state. From Crescent City’s Rumiano Cheese Co. which produces Dry Jack, to Silverdale Cheese, which produces butter and cheese from its El Centro headquarters, California’s cheese is as diverse as our population.

To help guide one through the overwhelming amount of producer, we turn to the California Cheese Trail map, which is now in its eighth printing.

The map, which is available online and at visitors bureaus and welcome centers across the state, was launched in 2010 by Vivien Straus. (You might recognize her last name, her family founded Straus Family Creamery.) Straus is a self-proclaimed “woman with a slight addiction to cows” who loves cheese and advocates for producers and sustainable farming.

Thankfully for cheese lovers, the new map means new cheeses to try! Here’s five of the newest additions to the map to check out.

Bivalve Dairy, Point Reyes Station

Located on the site of the scenic Bianchini Ranch in Point Reyes, Bivalve is the brainchild of Karen Bianchini and John Taylor. In 2006, Bianchini and Taylor decided to return to the farm of Bianchini’s youth, where the couple would continue sustainable ranching practices and raise their three children. Today, they operate Bivalve Dairy onsite.

The dairy is 100% organic and pasture-based with over 400 cows on property, including 200 milking cows. In March 2019, Bivalve released their first cheeses, debuting them at the California Artisan Cheese Festival: Mendonça, a semi-hard Portuguese island cheese, and Foundry Fresh, an organic cream cheese. Currently, Bivalve is open by appointment for farm tours which are $25 per person. bivalvedairy.com

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