What could be any better than an AYCE cheese tasting? An organic cheese tasting, off the side of a lonely road just one hour north of San Francisco.
When you’re driving down a near deserted road and see a sign that says “organic cheese tasting,” naturally you bring the vehicle to a full stop.
Nicasio Valley Cheese Company, located in Nicasio, CA, welcomes you inside their tiny abode set in the middle of rolling green hills and open pastures.
Just one hour north of San Francisco in Marin County, you can taste organic cheese at this quaint little shop.
Homemade Swiss Cheese
Founded in 2010, the cheese company originated from a family dairy operation in the same location. Started by a Swiss immigrant in 1919, the LaFranchi family decided they could express the terroir of the land and their ancestral background through artisanal cheese.
All the cheese is made from 100% organic farmstead cow’s milk. Farmstead meaning that the milk comes from their own farm, rather than being bought from a supplier.
In fact, the cheese making starts right after the “morning milking,” when the milk is brought over to the small production facility located right on the ranch.
Grassfed Cow’s Milk
They have 400+ cows that graze freely on grass for 120 days of the year. Not a bad life under the California sunshine.
While they began as a conventional dairy farm, they became 100% organic as of 2012.
Peek into the production room
You can even view their production room right from the tiny tasting room and store. While tasting the cheese, you can also watch it being made.
Big Cheese Tasting
Let’s be clear about one thing. These are not little, itty bitty cheese squares of cheese you need to stab with a pinpoint accuracy only a toothpick could provide.
These are large, generous squares of cheese, so every part of your mouth gets the full flavor experience. While toothpicks are provided, so are small wooden spoons to scoop the softer cheese.
Make your own pairing with the fruit jams they have to sample too.
Soft cheese specialty
Nicasio specializes in soft cheeses from fresh, soft-ripening, to washed rind cheese wheels.
Perhaps their most well known cheese and claim to fame is the Foggy Morning fromage blanc. It has a subtle tang, much less than a goat’s milk cheese, and spreads so easily on everything from toast, fresh fruit, and pizza.
Other standouts are the Tomino, a soft ripened, lightly washed rind cheese similar to brie but with a more distinctive, tangy flavor.
The Locarno is their new brie addition that is aged for at least 5 weeks. It has a chalky texture that turns creamier as it ages.
Bonus: Pasture Raised Eggs
You may stop in for the cheese, but end up with leaving with eggs. Don’t miss out on their big, beautiful pasture raised eggs.
With over 3000 pasture fed, free range hens, the eggs don’t get any fresher than straight from this farm. The yolks are so big, orange, and will make the sunniest side up eggs for breakfast.
Cheese the Day
The next time you see an organic cheese tasting sign, carpe diem and make sure to stop. Nicasio would like you to “brie” their guest.
5300 Nicasio Valley Road, Nicasio, California 94946
Published March 9, 2019.
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