Fat Cat is my favorite of the unique cheeses being made by the fledgling Chester Springs cheesemaker Birchrun Hills Farm. But it could also be called "Chameleon."
Made from the raw milk of Birchrun's 80 Holstein cows, Fat Cat develops the personality of three cheeses over the course of its 60-day aging. It's ultimately a mild-mannered cheese, but texturally it's complex. The center has a salty, feta-like crumble, while a creamy, brie-like halo swells outward toward the surface. A chalky white, rumple-skinned exterior, meanwhile, has the flowery, grassy funk of a lightly washed rind. Fat Cat has evolved considerably since owner Sue Miller began making cheese three years ago. But recent experiments with beer-washes, hop dustings, and smaller one-pound wheels that turn entirely creamy inside suggest this chameleon of a cat isn't done changing yet: "We're ready," Miller says, "to start getting very creative."
Fat Cat is available at many cheese stores; the best price ($18 a pound) is direct from Birchrun Hills Farm at the farmers markets in Rittenhouse Square, Head House Square, and Clark Park.
- Craig LaBan