|Photo by Uriah Carpenter|
A former Wisconsin dairy goat producer, yogurt maker and specialty cheesemaker is in the process of reinventing himself as one of the state's best farmhouse brie makers.
Todd Jaskolski, of Caprine Supreme in Black Creek, Wisconsin, debuted his La-Von Farmhouse Brie last week at the Fourth Annual Wisconsin Cheese Originals Festival. Named for his mother and available in both goat and cow's milk, the brie is one of the first authentic farmhouse bries made in the state.
Made in 8-ounce rounds, the artisan cheese - made in mini batches, by hand - is not a commercial brie and, therefore, does not sport the perfect velvety half-inch thick white rind most Americans are used to seeing on tasteless mass-made, throw-it-at-the-wall-and-it-will-bounce-off brie. Instead, Jaskolski is using quality milk and real Geotrichum candidum to create a thin, tasty rind that is white with natural orange and sometimes even red mold dotting the outside. It's the kind of brie you're more likely to find in the French countryside than in an America cheese shop. Jaskolski makes it to order, so a three-week lead time is necessary. The cheese is made to be eaten between 3-6 weeks of age.
Once a dairy goat farmer and maker of the popular Caprine Supreme flavored goat milk yogurts, Jaskolski and his wife, Sheryl, had to sell their goat herd and retool the farmstead dairy plant after Todd suffered from a debilitating genetic disease that is essentially eating away his shoulders. After surgery on both, he can only lift his arms high enough to steer a car (think John McCain), and has remodeled the factory to lower all valves and tools so he can reach them. He carries a stool with him most of the time.
"We were bottling milk, making yogurt, making cheddar, milking goats twice a day and killing ourselves," Jaskolski told me back in August when he brought one of his first test wheels to me to try. "I could sit at home and collect disability and get fat, or I could keep making cheese. I'd rather make cheese."
Wisconsin is lucky Jaskolski decided to reinvent his farmstead dairy plant into an artisan brie creamery. While the cheese is just hitting markets, you can find it right now at Fromagination in Madison and in the coming weeks at Metcalfe's Market. Be sure and ask your favorite cheese store to carry it.