(First of two parts)
Not only do I believe that the cheese from Bobolink Dairy is the best cheese available in New York City’s farmers markets, I think it is one of the markets’ truly great products. I eat Bobolink cheese almost every day.
Founded in 2003 by the husband and wife team of Jonathan and Nina White, Bobolink produces about a half dozen superb cheeses, all made from cultured raw milk from grass-fed cows. (To read more about the health benefits of grass-fed products, click here.)
Bobolink’s cheeses are full of flavor, with some stinkier than others. Variations in flavor and texture are a product of subtle differences in how the milk and curd are handled (i.e. temperature, stirring length) during the cheese making process.
Also, as the cheeses age, they lose moisture, allowing flavors to become more concentrated. Bobolink’s cheddar, for example, is aged from one to three years, allowing for a wide spectrum of tastes. (Even the flavor of one chunk of cheese will change dramatically over the course of a week as it sits at room temperature on my kitchen counter.)
Another factor contributing to flavor is the time of year a cheese is made. Jean-Louis is a fall cheese, and the fall milk used to make it is much different from the winter milk used to produce Winter Drumm. Why? The grasses that Bobolink’s cows (about three dozen) eat vary greatly in flavor and constitution from season to season.
Bobolink Dairy is at the farmers market at Broadway & 66th Street on Thursdays and Saturdays, and at Union Square on Fridays. Free samples will help you decide which cheese to buy.
Do yourself a favor—eat this cheese!
(Tomorrow: A conversation with Nina White)