Last week, The Rieger Hotel Grill and Exchange was the first to introduce Baetje Farms artisan farmstead goat cheeses to the Kansas City market.
|Above: A photo of the Bloomy Rind “Bloomsdale” with arugula, peaches and fennel served at The Rieger.|
The farm, based in Bloomsdale, Mo., St. Genevieve County, south of St. Louis, produces “Bloomsdale,” a bloomy rind goat cheese that won the Super Gold at the 2011 World Cheese Awards. The award makes Bloomsdale one of the top rated cheeses in the world.
According the the farm’s website, Bloomsdale is a cheese inspired by a French variation produced in Valencay. Originally, this cheese was shaped like a perfect pyramid. The story goes that when Napoleon returned from his disastrous campaign in Egypt, he stopped at the castle of Valencay. Seeing the cheese reminded him of the Egyptian pyramids, and in a rage he drew his sword and chopped off the top. The cheese has been made with a flattened top ever since.
The cheese makers chose the name “Bloomsdale” because its shape reminded them of the hills surrounding their farm. Bloomsdale is a mold-ripened cheese and is rolled in a mixture of ash and salt. As this cheese ages, it becomes progressively softer to the point of runniness. The cheese at that point takes on some blue cheese flavor compounds. Some customers prefer it that way and use it as a savory sauce for grilled steak.
The artisan cheese makers produce cheese using fresh rennet and cultures that are imported from France and Denmark. They have produced cheese for the past ten years, using milk from their herd of goats.
Last week, The Rieger featured various cheeses from Baetje Farms as a daily special. Look for the farmstead cheeses on the menu as available. “I was really impressed with them and will try to use them regularly,” says Chef Howard Hanna, co-owner of The Rieger. Availability depends on shipping from the farm, how well the cheese sells on the menu and other factors.
The farm makes three other cheeses, plus seasonal variations. Visit Baetje Farms to locate stores, such as Whole Foods, and restaurants, primarily throughout the St. Louis area, to find their award-winning cheeses. Also, they can ship to retail and wholesale customers so it may become more available locally if demand grows. Hint, hint.