Ewe Bloom, from Prairie Fruits Farm in Champaign, Illinois. A sheep’s milk soft-ripened bloomy rind in the style of an Italian Robiola, Prairie Fruits uses the milk of Friesian-Lacaune sheep from a nearby Amish sheep dairy. Started by two soil scientists, Wes Jarrell and Leslie Cooperband, Prairie Fruits has quickly made a name for itself with its French and Italian-inspired goat and sheep’s milk cheeses.
The Ewe Bloom is aged just two weeks; this young cheese nonetheless develops a depth and complexity of flavor that makes it a pleasure to eat. with a crinkly, pillowy, white-molded rind, it opens up to reveal a straw-colored, creamy, lightly oozing paste that becomes runny as the cheese approaches peak. In flavor it is tangy, meaty and grassy, with a distinctly sheepy, lanolin overtone and a wonderful mouthfeel. the Ewe Bloom does a good job of capturing the delicate yet assertive qualities of a good Robiola.
Keep an eye out for their Black Sheep as well, which is similar to the Ewe Bloom but includes an ash coating, as the name implies. Black Sheep won first place in the “Soft-ripened cheese made from sheep or mixed milks” category at the 2012 American Cheese Society conference in Raleigh, NC (I took the photo above at the Festival of Cheese in Raleigh).
Purchased at Rubiner’s Cheesemongers, in Great Barrington, MA.