Cowgirl Creamery- One of the best cheese in America
Cheese- that diabolical dairy decadence that drives us serious foodies to have food porn dreams about. It’s a snack; it’s a beginning to a meal; it’s an end to a meal; it’s in a class all its own. I’ve traveled the world in search of every region’s greatest cheeses and to my great delight, my own hometown of the SF bay area houses one of my top favorites.
In 1976 two friends traveled from Tennessee to San Francisco, fell in love with America’s most romantic city and both established prolific careers in the booming food industry. Fast forward to the 1990’s and Peggy Smith and Sue Conley found themselves craving their next adventure which would manifest as the highly successful Tomales Bay Foods marketing company. In the front of their first location, they had a small cheese making station which would later give birth to the now infamous Cowgirl Creamery.
Smith and Conley stood true to their values of superior quality, using milk from neighbor and fellow bay area food titan Straus Family Creamery. More than twenty years, numerous awards and two thousand tons of cheese later, Cowgirl Creamery has become a premium supplier of luscious, unique cheeses to the bay area’s best restaurants and stores including Whole Foods.
The first time I had a taste of Mount Tam, I knew I would have to divorce my longtime favorite- Brie, in order to begin a sordid love affair with the sensual Tam. Creamy, melt-on-your-tongue, delicate triple-crème with a delicate touch of mushroom- if Mount Tam were a person, I’d get naked and make love to it. Exquisite on its own like fine caviar, Mount Tam also goes well in a variety of dishes. I’ve paired it with a drizzle of honey on warm crostini and I’ve also lightly melted it on top of a juicy, fresh wedge of Asian pear.
Mount Tam- sophisticated, distinctive and one of the most luscious cheeses in the world.
Moving beyond my love affair with Mount Tam, Cowgirl is home to a wide variety of other spectacular cheeses including the saltier, more pronounced Red Hawk and the almost cheddar-like Wagon Wheel. The latter is an all-around favorite for cheese lovers, the diplomatic envoy of cheeses with its lightly sweet and salty essence and moderately firm texture.
You cannot call yourself a native of the San Francisco bay area if you have not visited one of Cowgirl Creamery’s locations, preferably their actually creamery in Petaluma or their storefront at the iconic Ferry Building. And if you’re a visitor to the area, a tour of Cowgirl’s Creamery is a must on the travel list.
Next time you get a craving for cheese or are hosting a party, do your palate a favor and head straight to one of San Francisco’s most treasured gems. Their always-happy team is always happy to give you a generous tasting with informative explanations of each cheese. Which begs the question- wouldn’t everybody be a bit happier with a taste of Cowgirl cheese every day?