Luscious sophistication: Beecher’s Handmade Cheese

American cheese has come into its own in the past several years, with cheesemakers creating truly world-class products. A company making Seattle’s first artisan cheese has quickly garnered a foothold in the market on a national basis: Beecher’s Handmade Cheese. I was happy to be hosted to experience it! They’ve won prestigious World Cheese and also, American Cheese Society awards

Many upscale grocery stores across the country are carrying selections from their product line, but for complete availability, they do have an online shop. They have a wide range of products, with something sure to please everyone: everything from mild cheese curds, to Kosher cheese, a special holiday variety and specially aged products.

And though I have made many a cheese plate my dinner for the evening — so simple, so comforting! — it’s also good to branch out. After all, cheese is a scrumptious ingredient in so many dishes! Beecher’s makes a number of side dishes incorporating their fine product, including their Flagship cheese. Many of the sides have a Mexican flair, as you can see in my Day of the Dead homage pic.

Flagship – This signature cheese is made from cow’s milk aged for 15 months. It’s firm, but not hard, with unctuous and a bit of fun crystalization texture. Flavor-wise, I noticed stone fruit in the first mouthful. Then, I experienced salt, mushroom and vegetal notes. Later, I tasted lactic tang balanced by butteriness.

SheepSheep is made from 100% sheep milk aged in the traditional cloth-bound, open air method. It’s a hard cheese with a deep French vanilla color towards the center. It has a nutty, salted butter nose that grows into a hay scent. Flavor-wise, I tasted hay, plus rich nut flavor, with more hay toward the rind. The caramel-colored rinds is more gjoest like. It has an oily surface, like a Spanish cheese. It has salt, but isn’t super salty. It’s good for a cheese plate: it’s so unique!

Reserve Flagship is made from the last curds on the table from making Flagship: resulting in a lower moisture, but higher salt, content. It’s a tapioca with butterscotch color. Flavor-wise, I experienced nuts plus mushroom, butterscotch with a touch of tang. It’s a “meaty” cheese. It has oil on the surface with a firm texture, not crystalizing. The rind is chalky.

Their elegant sides are a must-keep in the freezer: you’ll either have a terrific lunch on hand or something to snazz up whatever entree you’re serving.

They recommend that you bake their sides in the oven. You should! It’s the way to go for cheese caramelizing. With the Enchilada Blanco Bowl, there are nice bits of Serrano pepper and red pepper. There are nutty corn mesa flavors, with crisp corn kernels and Northern beans. The high quality cheese really makes a difference: restaurant level. There’s quite a bit of heat for a frozen meal!

The Enchilada Verde Bowl also has nice bite! There’s rich cheese flavor. The pumpkin seeds are so authentic and they add good texture too. It’s nutritious, with Vitamins A, C, protein, calcium and iron.

World’s Best Mac & Cheese really is tasty. It’s made with al dente penne pasta, with the bechemel sauce being creamy and tangy with some paprika heat.

 

 

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