My early recollections of cottage cheese are not the best of ones.
Like so many of you way back when, I ate it — but not happily.
It was, of course, diet food, associated with canned cling peach halves or bare burger patties alongside a forlorn leaf of iceberg lettuce. We ate the white, creamy curds because they were supposed to be good for us, because we were counting calories, because we wanted to feel virtuous.
We certainly didn’t spoon them into our mouths because we wanted to.
But I do now.
That’s because I’ve discovered a cottage cheese that actually makes me revel in eating cottage cheese. It’s the clabbered cottage cheese crafted by Cowgirl Creamery of Point Reyes Station.
It starts with organic non-fat milk from Marin County’s Straus Family Creamery. Clabbered cream (similar in taste to creme fraiche) is then added. The result is a creamy, rich cottage cheese. Unlike the standard mass-produced ones that have a sort of sour milk-taste to them, Cowgirl Creamery’s has a pure, fresh milky flavor.
One ounce of the cottage cheese has 60 calories and 2 grams of fat. An 8-ounce tub is $4.25, and available at the Cowgirl Creamery Cheese Shop in the San Francisco Ferry Building, Tomales Bay Foods in Point Reyes Station, and some farmers’ markets.
Founders Sue Conley and Peggy Smith, who started making their cheeses in 1997, helped pioneer the artisan cheese movement in Northern California.
Now, like Johnny Appleseeds, they are spreading their know-how and can-do-spirit around the globe. Thanks to Conley’s efforts, artisan cheese will be made for the first time next year in a tiny village in the Himalayas. And with Smith’s help, a cafe will open in the Peruvian Andes that will showcase ingredients grown by local organic farmers.
Read more about their endeavors in my story in the June issue of San Francisco Magazine.