TASTE OF THE WEEK: Three Colorado artisan cheese incidents

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Rocking W Cheese

I don’t know why it still surprises folks that Colorado — home to tons of dairies — also produces some first-class cheeses. (Side note: Leprino Foods in Greeley is the world’s largest producer of mozzarella for pizza.)

Rocking W Farmer’s Cheese 

Farmer’s cheese is simple stuff, made by pressing curds together, but the version from Rocking W Cheese in Olathe (rockingwcheese.com) has a great, mild, tangy taste and is made to melt on toast.   

Origin A2 Jack Cheese 

Colorado’s Origin Jack cheese (originmilk.com) is made from Guernesy A2 milk with more of vitamins D, A and K, plus more calcium, protein and omega-3 than regular milk. Origin partners with Longmont’s Haystack Mountain Creamery to make Rocky Mountain Soft Ripened and Camembert cheeses, as well as A2 Jack, one of the creamiest, richest tasting Monterrey Jack-style cheeses I’ve ever sampled. 

MouCo Fresh Cheese Curds

You don’t know cheese until you’ve squeaked some fresh curds. Once a rare treat in Colorado, fresh cheese curds are now sold by the bag at MouCo Cheese (mouco.com) stores in Fort Collins and Greeley.  

Smashing Cukes big hit in Boulder

Because of a wetter-than-usual spring, gardens and farms are delivering a wave of cucumbers. Besides pickling cukes, try this taste-packed simple salad from Edwin Zoe, owner and chef of Zoe Ma Ma, Chimera Ramen and Pho Mi. The recipe is from 2020’s benefit cookbook, A Bite of Boulder, edited by Jessica Benjamin of First Bite: Boulder County Restaurant Week (Oct. 8-17). More than 40 recipes from Boulder eateries plus other features on local food fill the book, with 50% of proceeds going back to the eateries. Information: firstbiteboulder.com 

Chimera’s Smashed Cucumber

2 small Korean or Persian cucumbers 

2 teaspoons rice vinegar

Dash of toasted sesame oil

1 teaspoon of chili oil

Pinch of kosher salt

1 teaspoon of minced dried shrimp (available at most Asian grocery stores)

Green onions, finely sliced

Cross cut two small Korean or Persian cucumbers in half, then quarter cut lengthwise so that each slice is about 2 to 3 inches long. Cover with plastic wrap on a cutting board and then smash cucumbers with the flat of a knife, a mallet or your hand. Not too hard, just a few whacks. This creates more surface area for dressing.

Place the cucumbers in a mixing bowl. Add rice vinegar, dash of toasted sesame oil, chili oil and salt, to taste. Sprinkle finely minced dried shrimp over the top. Place in a dish and garnish with finely sliced green onions. Serves two. 

What’s made here? 50% of it is disposable 

According to Tim Broderick, senior sustainability strategist at Boulder County’s Office of Sustainability, Climate Action & Resilience, “…46% of all manufacturing in Boulder County (is) attributed to the food and beverage industry.” Boulder County is supporting the design of reusable, recycled, recyclable, bio-based and compostable food and drink packaging.

Celebrating Colorado culinary milestones

Along with Boulder’s Flagstaff House, Glendale’s Bull & Bush pub is celebrating 50 years in business, while Pueblo’s Gagliano’s Italian Market & Deli celebrates its 100th birthday this year. Meanwhile, Kim Moyle has been named executive chef at Denver’s Brown Palace Hotel. It’s notable because she is the first woman to hold the position in the more than 100-year history of Denver’s stolid Palace Arms restaurant.