This holiday go beyond the store-bought cheese basket and give a gift of local sheep cheese, a cheese-making class or a how-to book to make your own.
Give a cheese board or fresh cheese
Green Dirt Farm crafts a variety of award-winning fresh and aged cheeses from grass-fed sheep in Weston, MO. Choices range from a buttery, lemon, mushroom flavored Dirt Lover to a sweet, tangy Tuffet. The fresh cheese selection has six offerings spiced with flavors like rosemary and nettles. Green Dirt Farm cheese can be found in select local stores and at www.greendirtfarm.com.
Make your own cheese
The Sundry, an urban market and kitchen in the Crossroads, is offering a Cheese-Making Class with Aaron Prater, chef, co-owner and a professor of culinary arts. Participants will learn to make three different fresh cheeses – cottage, ricotta and chèvre. The class will cover suggestions for using the cheeses, and participants will take home cheese and recipes.
The class is scheduled for 2 – 3 p.m. on Sunday, December 20 at 1706 Baltimore Ave, Kansas City, MO. Cost is $25 for one person or $40 for two. Make a reservation at The Sundry.
Select a cheese-making book
There are many cheese-making books available that would make good holiday gifts, including the following.
101 Recipes for Making Cheese by Cynthia Martin
With more than 3,000 different kinds of cheese, the author of 101 Recipes for Making Cheese has chosen the 101 varieties she believes are the most popular. She begins with the basics of making different kinds of cheese, including safety tips, equipment needed and resources from around the world.
Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll
Starting with your first batch, Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll covers the basics, including tips for cutting cheese and stories of other artisan and home cheese makers. Carroll has been teaching cheese-making classes for more than 36 years and offers cheese kits, equipment, books and workshops at the New England Cheese Making Supply Co., which she founded in 1978.
200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes by Debra Amrein-Boyes
These step-by-step recipes are designed for the home kitchen. 200 Easy Homemade Cheese Recipes includes a troubleshooting section, photos of the process and a history of cheese making. The author, Debra Amrein-Boyes, is head cheese-maker of The Farm House Natural Cheeses in British Columbia.
Artisan Vegan Cheese by Miyoko Schinner
Author Miyoko Schinner puts a twist on cheese making with her book, Artisan Vegan Cheese. As owner of a gourmet vegan restaurant, Schinner shares her secrets for making non-dairy cheese from nuts and plant-based milks. She also offers tangy dairy substitutes for sour cream, crème fraiche and yogurt.
Top photo: Courtesy of Green Dirt Farm