When I was a law student interviewing for a summer job at a law firm, one of the partners I interviewed with asked me what one of my vices was (weird interview question, right?!?). I was taken off guard, but answered with the most virtuous yet honest answer I could think of, and said brie cheese. Lucky for me the interviewing partner was a foodie, and I think that definitely helped me get the job! I do adore cheese – especially rich, creamy cheese – and while cheese may not seem like a vice for many of you, I am among the lactose-intolerant so it’s something I should avoid. As much as a try to resist, I am always drawn to cheese. Eventually, instead of fighting it, I found some cheeses that don’t trouble my delicate constitution. Goat cheese is one of the few types of cheese that I, and many other lactose-intolerant peeps, can easily digest without taking a lactaid pill or suffering the consequences. While a log of soft, tangy goat cheese is very good, I am always on the hunt for different/interesting types of goat milk cheese.
Several years ago I discovered Ardith Mae Farmstead Goat Cheese at my local farmer’s market on the UWS. I tried a few of the samples they always have out for shoppers, and was immediately hooked on Ardith Mae’s lovely, French-style goat cheeses – including their delicious, bloomy Camembert-style wheel called the Mammuth. Ardith Mae’s cheeses are all made with goat milk, and are beautifully handmade in Stuyvesant, NY (about 20 miles south of Albany).
Ardith Mae’s chèvre has been described as “swoonworthy” and I totally agree. Their chèvre is the ultimate smooth, creamy and slightly tart goat cheese spread. Ardith Mae makes several different flavors of chèvre, including honey lavender, which is my absolute favorite. I like to spread the honey-lavender goat cheese on whole-grain toast for a really luxurious breakfast, or slather it on crostini for a simple summer appetizer. Ardith Mae’s Mammuth (their aforementioned Camembert-style wheel) is mildly bloomy and reminiscent of a traditional brie cheese. They also make a mildly salty feta, and several other soft-ripened goat cheeses (click the hotlink for a full list of Ardith Mae’s current products).
If you too are a fan of the goat cheese and in the NYC or Albany area, you should definitely seek out Ardith Mae’s luxurious cheeses. Also, check out Edible Brooklyn’s article on Ardith Mae (Get Your Goat) for the cool story of how the couple from Brooklyn who started Ardith Mae came to be artisan cheese makers in upstate NY.Ardith Mae goat cheese in available in New York City: Union Square Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, year round; W. 79th Street Farmer’s Market (in front of the Natural History Museum, at 80th St. & Columbus) on Sundays, year round; and the Columbia University Farmer’s Market (115th St. and Broadway) on Sundays, year round. Ardith mae cheese is also available in Tory, NY (outside Albany): Troy Farmer’s Market on Saturdays.
Photo credits: Beth Robyn Photography