Two summers ago, Shay and I were invited to a friend’s birthday at Hog Island Oyster Farm in Tamales Bay. For those who have not been there, apart from being an oyster farm, it’s a picnic venue that sells quality cheese, bread, and wine, and of course, oysters to barbeque! I personally am allergic to shellfish, but cheese, wine and a beautiful setting…my kind of scene. It was there that I first tried Mt. Tam, and I was hooked from the first bite.
Imagine the best brie you have ever had: intensely creamy, layers of mild flavors, and just tastes like decadence personified. That’s how I would describe Mt Tam, the best brie I have ever had, but a more firm and flavorful one. As Cowgirl Creamery describes it, it has “hints of white mushroom” and it’s a triple cream, what could be better?
This award winning cheese is made by Cowgirl Creamery, a local company started almost 15 years ago in Point Reyes. With the goal in mind of making artisan cheese in a sustainable way, Sue Conley and Peggy Smith bought a barn, some organic milk from Strauss and started a company that has become one of the most popular creameries, especially in the Bay Area. Despite their popularity, which has now gone bi-coastal, they have kept their production to 7 cheeses.
Being a HUGE fan of chicken-brie sandwiches, I would certainly suggest Mt Tam as an alternative, but it’s versatile flavors open up many more possibilities beyond that. I would pair this on a cheese plate with a strong hard cheese such as Pecorino Romano, apples, and a nut of some sort for crunch. I have had this cheese lightly melted and it is fabulous that way as well.
While I would certainly recommend a trip to Hog Island Oyster Farm, you do not need to venture all the way there to discover Mt Tam like I did. Simply visit Cowgirl’s shop in the ferry building or your local Whole Foods, and see if you are as hooked as I am.