A silky, creamy handcrafted goat cheese, ripened in the Wegmans Food Markets cheese caves took second place in the “aged goat cheese” category at the American Cheese Society’s 2015 competition. Winners were announced Friday, July 31 in Providence, RI.
ACS, headquartered in Denver CO, annually hosts the foremost educational conference and cheese competition in North America, drawing more than 1,200 professionals who make, buy or sell cheese. Nearly 1,800 cheeses were submitted for consideration in the 2015 competition.
To create the award-winning 1916 aged goat cheese, Wegmans Affineur Eric Meredith worked for more than a year with Vermont Creamery’s French Cheesemaker Adeline Druart. The goat cheese is a real challenge to create, requiring precise air quality, exact temperature and humidity, and careful nurturing.
These conditions are achieved in the Wegmans cheese caves, a state-of-the-art 12,300 square-foot building that opened in 2014 with precise temperature and humidity controls, where each wheel of cheese is coaxed into fully ripe perfection.
First, Vermont Creamery’s team crafts the goat cheese into shallow disks, a shape that showcases the delicate rind. Then it’s shipped to the Wegmans cheese caves, where Meredith sprinkles it with vegetable ash, traditionally used as a way to preserve cheeses.
The delicious result is a goat cheese that has to be experienced to be appreciated, and is so extraordinary that Wegmans named it “1916” in honor of the year the family-owned company was founded.
“The rind is incredible,” says Meredith. “It’s nutty and yeasty, like fresh-baked bread. The cheese itself is silky and creamy; sweet, with a delicate refreshing tang. Even people who claim not to like goat cheese get a taste of these cheeses and love them.”
Limited quantities of 1916 aged goat cheese are available for purchase at select Wegmans locations. The company’s Cheese Shops will highlight ACS award-winning cheeses throughout August.