Maplebrook Farm Cheeses
I recently spotted Maplebrook Farm cheeses in specialty food stores in New Hampshire and Maine. Having had outstanding ricotta during a trip to Sicily, I decided to try the two Maplebrook Farm ricottas.
The Hand Dipped Ricotta was excellent – every bit as good as I remembered in Sicily, where we ate it for breakfast with ripe tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil.
Maplebrook Farm Ricotta Alta was in a league of its own, even creamier than the hand-dipped style. This fresh cheese enrobed the tongue with a pure milky, velvety texture. Delicious, decadent and pillowy was what came to mind.
The Ricotta Alta “first rise” cheese has the very attractive feature of being drained in a basket before packaging. This creates a pattern on the exterior of the cheese which makes a lovely presentation when the cheese is turned out on a platter for serving. The cheese is creamy and smooth, with no hint of the grittiness common in most mass-produced domestic ricottas.
Another product to consider is Maplebrook’s unique cherrywood smoked whole milk feta, packaged in a convenient 2-ounce portion that is perfect for a cheese board. It’s a tangy and quite firm cheese, excellent for melting on a burger.
I tried their cheese curds, marketed as Cheddar Bites. They are mild due to their youth. Unlike cheddar cheese, they are not aged or pressed. Their uncomplicated, clean flavor would enhance any recipe calling for curds, such as poutine. These would be a nice snack to nibble on as-is, too.
Maplebrook Farm fresh mozzarella is made in small batches and wrapped by hand. I enjoyed its fresh milky flavor on pizza. The experience of unwinding the tight plastic wrapper with its unique double twists was a pleasant change from commercial cryovac packaging.
Burrata, a hand-stretched mozzarella filled with stracciatella (hand pulled strands of mozzarella soaked in cream), was originally created in Puglia, Italy. Buratta is made at Maplebrook Farm under the supervision of Domenico Marchitelli, a Puglian cheesemaker with 25 years of experience. The pure white cushiony orbs with a puckered top-knot are not only lovely to look at, but so delightfully creamy inside they make quite an impression when cut at the table. Burrata is lovely paired with summer tomatoes and basil — or for a blow-your-socks-off appetizer, top a toasted baguette with buratta, grilled figs, arugula and prosciutto, and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
For more information about Maplebrook Farm cheeses and where to purchase them, visit http://www.maplebrookvt.com/.