After nearly three decades as a human resources executive, it's no wonder Debbie Mikulak is enjoying her seven day-a-week "retirement" project making cheese from her little herd of goats. ("For one, they're not humans.")
At Amazing Acres, though, the diminutive Elverson dairy farm she launched in 2009 with her husband, Fred Bloom, their impressive new cheeses are becoming our reward, too. They make a wide variety, but the specialty has become the "fresh aged" cheeses, which retain the fresh tang of a new chevre, but also benefit from a week or two of extra aging to add complexity and a denser, creamy chew.
The Banon is a prime example. Mikulak wraps a simple 3-ounce crottin in brandy-soaked grape leaves, then ties it into a handsome green parcel with raffia string. Inspired by the chestnut leaf-wrapped French classic (but not quite as musty as some can get on the transatlantic journey), the exterior skin takes on a boozy, tacky tint that adds another layer of light and fruity ferment to the rich, white, creamy heart. Perfect for a fall cheese plate.
- Craig LaBan
Amazing Acres Banon, $7.99 at Fair Food Project, Reading Terminal Market. Also occasionally at Talula's Table in Kennett Square; 320 Market Cafe in Swarthmore.