Husband and wife Gerald Onken and Mariann Janosko worked and saved for five years to build their tiny urban dairy, Lake Erie Creamery.
The two retirees dreamed of a small creamery that could produce local and natural goat cheeses. Now they are the only licensed goat cheese producer in Ohio. They partner with friends at Cherry Lane Farm, also in the Cleveland area, who own 300 Saanen breed dairy goats. They use over 50 gallons of their sweet, tangy milk every week for their fresh cheeses - which have fast become a favorite of chefs and cheese shops in Ohio.
We tried their fresh chvre last week - click for pictures and a review...
When I stopped at the cheese shop to buy some cheese for an appetizer, the cheesemonger offered this immediately. He told me that most goat cheeses found in the grocery store can have a significant amount of preservatives and even gelatin for texture. This cheese, however, is absolutely fresh and contains only goat milk, culture, rennet, and salt.
The cheese was very soft, with creamy curds that crumbled gently but stuck together when we unmolded the cheese on a plate. The first taste yielded a bright tanginess that tasted just like fresh goat milk. The funky earthiness found in older, more ripened goat cheeses was muted, however, taking on a mild sweetness that lingered on the palate. There is almost a citrus tanginess in this cheese, and a bright sweetness that we found delicious.
We drizzled it with honey and paired it with roasted figs and black pepper crackers - highly recommended.
We couldn't find an online source for this cheese, but if you're in the Cleveland area you can arrange for a visit to the dairy by calling Mariann Janosko at (216) 961-9222. The cheese is also available at Baricelli Cheese in Cleveland, Ohio, and at Curds & Whey in Columbus' North Market.