CHEESE COURSE Edition Food Vol. 26 No. 09

An Award-Winning Creamery in Georgia

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Jessica Little grew up in Thomasville, Georgia, helping her parents, Desiree and Al, manage their 350-acre dairy farm. Determined to spread her wings she left for a life in the city, earned a degree in Business Administration in Atlanta and took a corporate job. She also met her husband, Jeremy Little.

Jessica and Jeremy shared with me that their decision to leave Atlanta hit when they were stuck in one of the city’s infamous traffic jams. They returned to Thomasville to operate the family’s Sweet Grass Dairy and raise their four boys. Since 2002, the Littles have won over 30 awards for their artisan cheeses.

Named after the field grass the cows graze upon, Sweet Grass Dairy produces a selection of aged, soft-ripened and fresh cow’s milk cheeses. These cheeses have developed a loyal clientele among both chefs and consumers. The Sweet Grass Dairy cows are raised “barn free” and have their own following thanks to the creamery’s “cow cam,” which you can watch at www.sweetgrassdairy.com

Jessica and Jeremy Little at their restaurant in Thomasville.

Jeremy serves as Head Cheesemaker and is a chef by training. Jessica Little is both a certified cheese professional and certified sommelier and a member of the International Guilde de Fromagers. Together they develop the menu for Sweet Grass Dairy’s restaurant, which serves sandwiches, salads, and cheese plates. The thoughtfully curated beverage menu features a selection of beers, cocktails, and wines from around the world. The website has a full pairing guide and recipes for all Sweet Grass cheeses.

What we tasted:

Thomasville Tomme

Sweet Grass Dairy’s bestselling farmhouse cheese is made in a French (Pyrenees) Mountain Tomme style. Released between 60-90 days, it is naturally rinded with a semi-soft texture and subtle grassy flavors.

Wine pairing: Pinot Noir or Pinot Gris Beer: Pale Ale

Thomasville Tomme

Asher Blue

Jessica Little told me making the right style of blue took some serious consideration. The cheesemaking team nailed it with Asher Blue, named after the Little’s second son. This is a mild raw milk blue with an earthy flavor and notes of cocoa on the finish,

Wine pairing: Riesling or Zinfandel  Beer: Gosé

Steak with Melted Asher Blue (Recipe)
Photo/Recipe: Sweet Grass Dairy

Green Hill

This is a double cream, soft-ripened cheese with an earthy, mushroomy character and smooth texture.

Wine pairing: Champagne or sparkling wine or Chardonnay. Beer: hard cider

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Griffin (Recipe)
Photo/Recipe: Sweet Grass Dairy

Griffin

Named after the owners’ third son, Griffin, this is a farm-style cheese with a crumbly texture and malty flavor derived from soaking the curds in a half barrel of Terminus Porter from Gate City Brewing. The cheese is aged a minimum of 120 days

Wine pairing: Northern Rhone Syrah or Rhone white blends  Beer: Porter

Lil’ Moo Garlic & Chive Stuffed Baked Potatoes (Recipe)
Photo/Recipe: Sweet Grass Dairy

Lil’ Moo Original

Similar to spreadable cream cheese but with lighter texture and tang Lil’ Moo is made with 100 percent whole milk. This is a versatile cheese for sandwiches and spreads. There is a garlic and chive version as well as plain.

Wine pairing: New Zealand Sauvignon or Gewurztraminer  Beer: Lager

Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs (Recipe)
Photo/Recipe: Sweet Grass Dairy

Pimento Cheese

Local customers asked for it,” and the Littles complied. Their version uses their Thomasville Tomme as a base with mayonnaise, piquillo pepper, and pimentón, delivering a touch of smoke and spice to this southern favorite.

Wine pairing: Gruner Veltliner or Cabernet Sauvignon  Beer: IPA

Follow@sweetgrassdairy

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An engaging speaker and writer, Melanie Young hosts the weekly national radio shows, The Connected Table Live, featuring conversations with global thought leaders in wine, food, spirits and hospitality (a Feedspot Top 10 Food & Drink Podcasts for 2021), and Fearless Fabulous You, a lifestyle show for and about women (both on iHeart and more than 30 other podcast platforms). Young has contributed articles on wine, spirits, food, and culinary travel to Wine Enthusiast, Seven Fifty Daily, Wine4Food and Jewish Week. She is a member of Les Dames d’Escoffier International, Wine Media Guild, and Women of the Vine & Spirits. Young’s former marketing and events agency, M Young Communications, worked with global wine, food organizations, publishing companies and nonprofits. She had an integral role in the creation, launch and management of The James Beard Foundation Awards, New York Restaurant Week, and Windows of Hope Family Relief Fund (2001) which raised funds to provide for the families of restaurant workers killed in the September 11th terrorist attacks. www.theconnectedtable.com www.melanieyoung.com Instagram @theconnectedtable

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