Black and Bleu
Owned and operated by the Green family for 4 generations, Winter Park Dairy was originally a citrus farm located on Lake Florence in central Florida. However, the frosts of the mid-1980’s destroyed many of the family’s citrus trees. The current generation of Greens, David and his wife Dawn, founded Winter Park Dairy in 2001 as a measure to keep the farm going. In the beginning, Winter Park had its own closed herd of Jersey cows. Now though, the milk for the dairy comes from local family dairies. In 2008, Winter Park was the first dairy to be licensed as a raw milk cheese-making facility by the USDA/State of Florida. The cheeses produced at Winter Park are all hand made. The process begins with a water-heated vat imported from Holland that gradually brings the milk up to 90° F. Microbial rennet that the dairy imports from France is then added to the milk and stirred in by hand. The curd is formed, cut, hooped and then aged for a minimum of 60 days as required by U.S. federal law for all raw milk cheeses. The unique recipe for Black and Bleu was given to the Green family by a South Asian cheesemaker friend, Rose. The black in Black & Bleu is from black peppercorns that are cracked and roasted before being added to the cheese curds.
When combined with the blue mold in the cheese, it makes for a powerful flavor that is rich and tangy with the spice of the peppercorns. It has a light grey natural rind with pale yellow paste streaked with blue veins and large eyes sparsely dotted throughout. The blue mold covers the interior of each eye, making them look like the inside of geode. There are small specks of black peppercorn sprinkled throughout the paste as well.
This cheese works particularly well melted onto steaks. It pairs well with bold red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Super Tuscans or Spanish wines such as Temperanillo.