Massachusetts — Missouri
Massachusetts: Lavendar Honey with Chili Burrata from Fiore di Nonno in Somerville
Hailing from a long line of Italian cheesemakers (Fiore di Nonno is Italian for “my grandfather’s flower”), Lourdes Smith sources local curds before transforming them by hand into her moist and milky mozzarella. For her burrata, which balances sweet and spicy notes, she fills her traditional mozzarella with Italian mascarpone, Greek yogurt, and lavender-chili-infused honey.
Michigan: Idyll Gris from Idyll Farms in Northport
“I’ve never had a bad cheese from Idyll Farms,” says Thorpe of the super-small goat’s milk farm that specialized in fresh cheeses. Their Idyll Gris is a soft-ripened, ash-dusted creamy goat cheese that took home the Gold medal at the 2016 World Championship Cheese Contest.
Minnesota: The Good Thunder from Alemar Cheese Company in Mankato
Named after a small town not far from the creamery, this washed-rind cheese is loosely inspired by Reblochon, a raw-milk French cheese that is illegal to import to the United States. The cheese is washed in Bender brown ale from the Minneapolis-based Surly Brewing and aged up to two months for a soft texture and funky flavor.
Mississippi: Farmhouse Cheddar from Country Girls Creamery in Lumberton
Just 45 minutes north of the Gulf of Mexico is one of Mississippi’s last remaining dairy farms. Started by the Smith family in the 1950s, when there were more than 350 competitors in the state, this Southern creamery has a faithful following of locals who love their raw-milk cheddar. This one is aged at least 60 days for a mild flavor, but you can also purchase tomato-basil or jalapeño variations.
Missouri: Flory’s Truckle from Homestead Creamery in Jamesport
A regular winner at the last few American Cheese Society Awards, this clothbound cheddar is handmade on Missouri’s largest Amish settlement by the Flory family, then aged for 12 months at the Milton Creamery, over two hours away in Iowa. Flory’s has a dry, crumbly texture, a peppery aroma, and an earthy, grassy flavor.