Located in Nicasio, California, Nicasio Valley Cheese Company is owned and operated by the Lafranchi family. Founded by Fredolino Lafranchi in 1919, Lafranchi Ranch, was a dream come true for the Swiss immigrant who arrived in the U.S. at the age of 17. The ranch became a family operation years later when Will Lafranchi, Fredolino’s eldest son took over running the business. Throughout this period, family connections to Switzerland remained strong and Will, along with his family, visited many times. These visits were filled with locally produced food, including artisanal cheeses at every meal. Inspired by his experiences in the old country, Will dreamed of producing great cheese on his ranch. Unfortunately, Will was unable to achieve this dream during his lifetime, but his children who now run the ranch, founded Nicasio Valley Cheese Company. Nicasio Valley Cheese focuses on bringing cheeses inspired by their family heritage to the U.S. Using rotational grazing for their herd of 400 cows and sustainable practices throughout the ranch, 100% of their herd is certified organically raised and their milk is used for the production of cheese. The creamery is located in a converted milking barn and recycled shipping containers are used as the aging rooms. Created in 2011, San Geronimo is a washed-rind cheese aged for around 6 weeks. During its production, the cheese-maker uses a technique called curd washing, where the whey is replaced with water, which reduces the acidity of the cheese and creates a mild flavor. As the cheese matures, it is washed in a brine solution, which causes the thin rind to develop a deep yellow to light orange color and distinct meaty-earthy aroma. The rind can subsequently be a bit tacky to the touch.
Under that rind is a light butter colored paste that delivers a big aroma, similar to that of the rind. The flavor though is mild, rather like a custard, with a bit of salt and a tart tang.
San Geronimo pairs very well with beer, dry white wine and cider. The flavor of San Geronimo is similar to Raclette, which, when combined with its ability to melt beautifully makes it an ideal substitute for the famous French/Swiss cheese in recipes.