Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Cheese Inspired by Small European Farms ; CHEESE OF THE WEEK

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Cheese Inspired by Small European Farms ; CHEESE OF THE WEEK

Article excerpt

KENNY'S FARMHOUSE CHEESE, ST. JEROME

Aroma **

Taste ***

Price **

When Kenny Mattingly was 19, his family moved from Indianapolis to Barren County, Kentucky, to start a 200-acre dairy farm. Later, Mattingly became an organizer for the Community Farm Alliance, and was sent to Europe in the late 1980s to report on farming practices. After seeing how Europeans made small family farms work, he decided to convert a portion of his own cow's milk to cheese, and Kenny's Farmhouse Cheese was born.

Mattingly produces a range of cheeses from the ever-popular tomato-basil cheddar to his own original blues, to some imitations of famous European styles. St. Jerome, a creamy, buttery cheese similar on the taste buds to havarti, is one of these - but it wasn't always so mild.

"When I first got started making cheese, a chef in Louisville wanted me to make a monastery-style cheese for him," said Mattingly. "He asked for Saint-Paulin, so I did a few wheels and they turned out great, and he loved it."

Like most cheeses that originated in Europe's monasteries, Saint- Paulin is a washed rind, bacteria ripened stinker.

A bit too stinky for some Central Kentucky tastes. "My mom was helping in the cheese shop and was making a lot of the cheese at that time, and she just couldn't stand the smell of it," said Mattingly. "She threatened to leave me if I didn't get rid of that smelly cheese. So now instead of ripening the outside with B. Linens bacteria, we leave the bacteria off and wash it in red vinegar to keep mold or bacteria from growing on the surface. We age it in a warm room for about two months, sort of like the Swiss. I let it develop some eyes from the culture, which creates some gassing and flavor."

Mattingly's son, Jared, is helping run the farm these days, so Mattingly has been able to spend more time in the cheese dairy, add new facilities and produce more cheese.

"We have a new creamery room twice as big as the old one, a new packaging room and 2,000 feet of underground aging space," he said. "We're still doing this with cows, no hormones or steroids. …

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