Cheese, Please

1200514938Last week, at a Chef’s Collaboriative lunch meeting, I sampled two fantastic new cheeses from Massachusetts. The first, from Fiore di Nonno in Lexington, is a cow’s milk burrata, a fresh mozzarella “purse” filled with fresh cream.

How to best convey the pleasure of eating burrata…of biting through that tender exterior and releasing a pool of creamy goodness? Go to the 0:55 mark of this video for a good illustration. Or at least, that’s how I felt.

In summer, the cheese is available at farmer’s markets around the city, including the Copley, Davis, and Lexington markets. In winter, you can find it at Lionette’s Market in the South End. But call ahead: this cheese is so fresh that it only lasts a few days.

Our second cheesy treasure, pictured here, is from Shy Brothers Farm in pastoral Westport, MA. These thimble-sized soft-ripened cheeses, made by the four Santos brothers, are called Hannahbells. Modeled after traditional Burgundian boutons de culottes, they pack a flavorful punch: yeasty and sweet, with a pleasant tang and creamy finish.

Their tiny size makes them a great cheese platter option (no need for cheese knives, or even crackers). Even better, these are farmstead cheeses, meaning they’re made from the farm’s own milk (produced by the Santos’ herd of Holsteins and Ayshires). In fact, the brothers turned to cheesemaking as a way to save their dairy operation.

Look for Hannahbells at two local Whole Foods stores: at Charles River Plaza in Boston and on River Street in Cambridge.