Every family's got one...the one that stands out from the pack, who gets whispered about over plates of turkey. Plain 'ol cow's milk cheese is a little too passe for them.
Luckily, the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company (Hudson Valley, NY) had these black sheep in mind.
What's the difference between sheep's milk cheese and cow's milk cheese? Not to beat hyperbole to death, but sheep are livestock that do well off the beaten path--they can subsist on less, in much harsher terrain and climate conditions than cows can. Ergo, when it comes time for lambing, a milk with optimized fat, sugar, and protein content is essential for 'lil sheep to put on weight and wean quickly, to better survive a more challenging environ than, say, a flat, fenced-in pasture.
This is good news for sheep's milk cheesemakers; because sheep's milk is so much richer and more nutritionally dense than cow's milk, it takes comparatively little sheep's milk to make a high yield of great quality cheese.
Is your black sheep vegetarian, preggers, or an irrational germaphobe? No worries--Old Chatham's cheeses are a blend of pasteurized sheep's milk and hormone-free cow's milk. They use vegetable rennets, and their yogurts are nuthin' but sheep's milk and active cultures.
The ever-popular Camembert Square is lush, creamy, and non-threatening to the squeamish--a fab stand-in for any situation that usually calls for 'round-the bend supermarket brie.
(Can't get enough camembert? It comes in a 2 lb. wheel, too!)
(Unfortunately, the Old Chatham site only offers the sheep's milk yogurt by the case, and Murray's carries it in their retail stores, but not online...however, super-lucky Fresh Direct NYC customers can have it brought right to their fifth-floor walkups.)
Next on-deck for a Very Queso Christmas: the lovely ladies of the Cowgirl Creamery.