With quite a few people moving on from Cypress (the restaurant I work at) I’ve been put in charge of the cheese buying for our cheese plate. Out of the four cheeses we have on it we generally buy two to three from a local cheese shop in Charleston called Goat. Sheep. Cow.
Now, I’m not very knowledgeable about my cheese, you can give me a nice gooey camembert, pungent blue, or crumbly cheddar but Land O’Lakes American will always be my favorite. The owners at Goat Sheep Cow very kindly offered me a cheese tasting tour through their cheese cases so I could get a better feel for what they have to offer and what is out there in the world of cheese!
Last Monday afternoon I headed to the shop set off on a tree- lined side street in downtown Charleston. The shop is small and narrow but inviting with the owners, Patty and Mike, waiting to welcome you at the door. As you walk into the quant shop you are hit with a cooler filled with colorful charcuterie from all over the world and a nook in the corner houses hand selected wines, but those aren’t what I’m interested in. What I’m interested in is what runs almost the whole length of the store, the cheese coolers.
Trudi, a knowledgeable and trusted coworker of Patty and Mike is there waiting to give me a tasting tour through the three different coolers. We start with the soft cheese cooler and will work our way next to the semi-soft cheeses and then on to the hard cheeses, with a tasting of blue cheese here and there.
I tried everything from fresh chevre to washed-rind cheeses to some very interesting blue cheeses. I tried cheeses from California, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and the Netherlands, goat’s milk, sheep’s milk, cow’s milk and mixtures, hard smelly cheeses, and soft butter-like cheeses, cheeses with a layer of ash in the middle to cheese speckled with blue, to one cheese that if you closed your eyes you got the slight aroma of cured meat.
I tried a very interesting cheese called Barley Buzzed which is an American made cheese that is rubbed with a mixture of oil, lavender buds, and ground coffee making for a nutty, butterscotch taste, with a hint of coffee. Bee Hive Cheese Co., the company that makes Barley Buzzed, also makes a cheese called TeaHive, which is rubbed with black tea and bergamot oil. Unfortunately, Goat. Sheep. Cow. didn’t have and TeaHive available to try but Patty has sampled it and said that it makes for a great breakfast melted on a crusty baguette with a nice cup of tea.
I think out of all the cheeses I tried my favorite was a mild gouda called Lambchopper. Made of sheep’s milk and aged in Holland for three months before being imported into the US the cheese has a smooth texture and a slight buttery flavor. The picture on the large wheel happens to be a lamb wearing sunglasses and riding a motorcycle, because if you didn’t know that the taste was amazing the image would grab you at first glance.
I probably tasted over twenty cheeses while visiting Goat. Sheep. Cow. each with it’s own unique flavors and characteristics and with the help of the frommage-savy staff I learned a lot. I didn’t buy anything while in the shop that day but I can guarantee I will become frequent face seen there!
Goat. Sheep. Cow. is located on 106 Church St., Charleston, S.C.