By Marcy Harris
MOOve over Wisconsin, Kentucky cheese is worth its weight in Gouda.
Cheese. I dream about it. With wine, smothering a burger, caramelized on my pizza. When the server at an Italian restaurant grates cheese on my pasta for me, I warn them that their arm will likely fall off before I ask them to stop. There is no cure for my infatuation, particularly if a cheese has been aged. Ever since Zingerman’s Roadhouse added a selection of Kenny’s Farmhouse cheeses to the menu last year, I’ve come to realize that all hope for recovery is lost. Hello, my name is Marcy, and I am addicted to cheese from a farm in Kentucky.
MOOve over Wisconsin.
Kenny’s Farmhouse put cheesemaking on the map for Kentucky in 1998, when Kenny Mattingly was inspired to take his dairy farm to a new level after he observed farming practices in Europe. Using Old World techniques and fresh, raw milk from his cows every day, Kenny and his team produce over 110,000 pounds of cheese per year in Barren County. He has complete control over the breeding and quality of life of his cows, so the milk they produce is consistent and specific to what is needed to create award-winning cheeses. Or at least to win over many a cheese-lover. The variety of cheese Kenny’s is able to supply is astounding. Crumbly cheddars, cave-aged blues, creamy goudas…I could count them as I fall asleep at night. We currently feature four on the Roadhouse menu.
I’m bleu without you.
Kenny’s ages their Bleu Gouda in a cave on their property for 60 days. A piercing process allows the earthiness of the cheese to develop, and a creamier base allows for a superb, marbled texture. Blue crystals bloom into a heady mushroom flavor that pairs well with our balsamic-marinated grapes.
A Rose by any other name…
Kenny’s considers Kentucky Rose to be their flagship cheese. It is a pressed farmhouse-style cheese reminiscent of roquefort, with a buttery nature and floral rind. Even with added cream, it remains light and airy. Starting off your meal at the Roadhouse with fresh oysters? The delicate grassy notes from the Rose compliments them well as a paired appetizer.
You spice up my life.
The Chipotle Colby we bring in from Kenny’s, made with peppers grown locally in Kentucky, boasts a meaty smokiness. For anyone who likes a more peppery cheese, this one will definitely jack up the intensity of your burger.
My heart melts for you.
As good as they are on their own, Kenny’s cheeses are not limited to the Roadhouse cheese boards. Our coveted Cheese Curds appetizer is made with Kenny’s Farmhouse cheddar cheese curds. These little bites are highly snackable on their own, offering the perfect amount of “squeak” people have come to associate with really good curds. The white cheddar melts perfectly to create a gooey center enfolded within a crispy, golden beer-batter shell. We offer this one on our menu every Wednesday, which has become my favorite day of the week for this meltingly delicious reason.
Can’t wait for Wednesday? We toss the curds into our Poutine as well, which is available any day of the week. Cheese curds are the essence to any good poutine. Even though our house made chicken gravy and twice-cooked fries make this dish a favorite on the Roadhouse menu, Kenny’s cheese curds make it truly unforgettable.
I warn you, once you’ve tried these cheeses, there is no return. Enjoy them at your own risk, for they will charm your palate until you can think of nothing else.
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