The American cheese revolution has come so far, it isn't often one still comes across a unique domestic effort. But that's exactly the case with Vermont Shepherd, distinctive not only for its use of sheep's milk (still rare in the States) but also for its mastery of the tomme approach, an aged European mountain style often crafted by monks to provide for good cheese-eating during the non-grazing winter months.

With the Major family's 200 sheep nibbling clover across the Vermont landscape, these 7-pound wheels develop more specifically into an American rendition of the Basque country's Ossau-Iraty, their gorgeously firm centers cascading with fissures of tangy cave-age, but still richly creamy, with a herbaceous, earthy finish. - Craig LaBan

Vermont Shepherd, on sale for $29.99 a pound at all Di Bruno Bros. locations.