Meet Melinda Mae, the newest cheese from rising star Connecticut cheesemaker Brian Civitello of the Mystic Cheese Company.
Melinda Mae (1 of 1)-3Robiola is to Italy what Brie is to France… and Melinda Mae hails from this fine family of soft-ripened cheeses, but offers a cleaner taste on the palate and no off flavors.  The rind is tender and completely edible.
Melinda Mae with spiced blueberry jelly (1 of 1)-2Like Melville before her, Melinda Mae is made in Mystic Cheese’s pods… a unique, on-farm, cheesemaking facility crafted within two recycled shipping containers located at Graywall Farm in Lebanon.
Topmost Herb Farm May DayBrian’s cheeses are made with the first milk of the day… never cooled — it goes straight from the cows to the pod’s pasteurizers without ever being refrigerated. The absolute freshness of the milk sparkles in his finished cheeses.
WBC_9719When younger, Melinda Mae’s creamy flavor has delicate fruity tones, but the Melinda Mae coming to market now has been aged 30 days and the flavor has a richer complexity that delights cheese lovers and chefs alike: an herbaceousness, with notes of haybarn, cold cellar, and fruitwood with a touch of sulfur.
Melinda Mae Plated (1 of 1)-2With an inventory now built up of 1,000 pieces of Melinda Mae, Mystic Cheese has adequate stock to hold back the cheese until its flavor has developed to perfection, and sufficient supply for cheese shops like Connecticut’s Fairfield Cheese Company and the New York City tourist mecca, Eataly.
WBC_9756Melinda Mae is following in the footsteps of Mystic Cheese’s first release, Melville… straight to some of the Northeast’s best restaurants. At Gramercy Tavern, she appears on the cheese plate. She shines on small plates and melds with rather than overpowers in food parings, like Millwright’s presentation with roasted chestnuts and wild Maine blueberries.
WBC_9549Melinda Mae is available at the Coventry Regional Farmers’ Market… from the market, look to drizzle with Fabyan Sugar Shack Maple syrup or Stonewall Apiary honey, or pair with jam from Falls Creek Farm.
WBC_9765We love this cheese slightly roasted, with the hit of heat softening the texture of Melinda Mae but keeping the rind and cheese together.  In the final minute of cooking, lay a thick slice of Melinda May atop a New Boston Beef burger on the grill, or one of Jonathan’s steaks done under your broiler. Melinda Mae is complemented beautifully by Holmberg Orchards hard ciders… apple or pear.
tasting at Holmbergs (1 of 1)-2Our Melinda Mae Tarts are delicious, will impress, and come together in under 10 minutes!
melinda puffs (1 of 1)-2Melinda Mae Tarts with Blueberry, Bacon, and Basil
1 pkg. frozen mini phyllo pastry shells (15 shells)
1 pkg. Melinda Mae
3 TB blueberry jam
3 TB crumbled, crisp bacon
1 TB Stonewall Apiary or other local honey
1 TB basil chiffonade

Heat oven to 350°F. Place pastry shells on ungreased large cookie sheet. Cut cheese into 1/2-inch cubes. Place 3 cheese cubes into each phyllo shell. Bake at 350°F. for 5-6 minutes or until cheese begins to soften.

Remove partially baked shells from oven. Spoon 1/4 teaspoon jam over cheese in each shell, sprinkle with crumbled bacon.

Return to oven; bake an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Drizzle with honey and garnish with basil. Serve warm.

*Brie may be substituted if you cannot locate Melinda Mae
Topmost Herb Farm May Day