Change is upon us! The days have already grown noticeably shorter. The bright greens of the summer leaves are becoming muted and we are waking to cool mornings as the summer season breathes its last slow breaths in the final week of August.
While most families are on vacation at the beautiful beaches and countryside camps across Connecticut, the work of the cheese maker is a labor of love never done. The Mystic Cheese Company has been hard at work in their Cheese Pod crafting a new lactic invention called Sea Change that will have a soft launch this weekend at the Coventry and Chester Farmer’s Markets.Connecticut Food and Farm was able to obtain an exclusive first bite of Sea Change and we were considerably impressed with its feathery texture, doughy flavor, and lingering yogurt-like tang.
According to Cheese Technologist and Founder of Mystic Cheese, Brian Civitello, Sea Change, a small 4 oz. yeast-ripened cow’s milk cheese, has stylistic influence stemming from the foot hills of the alps in north western Italy, an area Brian became well acquainted with on his cheese making apprentice journeys.
He explained that, typically, this cheese style is made with a blend of cow’s and goat’s milk harvested from 2-3 different milkings. But for Sea Change, Brian is exclusively using warm, fresh, cow’s milk from Graywall Farm… from a single milking, never more than 30 minutes out of the cow. It gives the cheese a sparkling dairy canvas to build on.
From that foundation, a long and slow fermentation process and gentle handling of the curd are key to building such a delicate cheese.
After the production day, which takes about 12 hours, the cheese is brined for 20 minutes, dried for several hours, and then ripened over the course of 9 days at 57 F to develop a natural, protective, edible, rind of yeast which emanates a distinctive, sweet aroma of wildflowers and plums.
Finally, the cheese is wrapped in a special ripening paper and brought to the coolers for distribution and packaging.
We found this cheese wonderful for desert, pairing it with wildflower honey to contrast the acidic tang on the finish. We can’t wait to get our hands on some more to develop a few recipes using other local products.Curious about the name Sea Change? Brian was inspired by “Ariel’s Song,” a verse passage in Scene ii of Act I of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest ~
“Full fathom five thy father lies.
Of his bones are coral made.
Those are pearls that were his eyes.
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.”
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