I’m not going to lie. I don’t like milk. I dislike it so much that not even being pregnant five times and knowing how good milk is for a terror—I mean child—to be could move me to down one 8-ounce serving. I think the last glass I did have was about six-and-a-half years ago when I was on a second date; I’d been invited over for dinner, so good manners prevailed. I’m pretty sure the meal was spaghetti with a side of chilly milk. (This reminds me that I recently had a conversation with a thirty-something male about the virtues of milk and why guys think it goes with pizza, spaghetti and meatball sandwiches. I don’t get it.)
So it is more than befitting that I completely ignored National Dairy Month this June—until today. Luckily, milk comes in lots of shapes and sizes. My favorites are round, frozen scoops or large wheels. And, since I’m having some friends over and couldn’t face cooking in 94-degree weather, I just loaded up on a bunch of cheese. But, I confess, none of it was of the local variety.
However, since you still have time to do some shopping before the holiday weekend, I recommend searching out some Shellbark Hollow goat cheese, made in West Chester, and Birchrun Hills Blue, also made in Chester County. (You can read all about cheese makers Pete Demchur and Sue Miller here and learn more about Chester County’s cheese artisans here.
If you’re out and about at Longwood Gardens or, better yet, plan to do a little tasting at any of the Brandywine Valley wineries, stop by Talula’s Table in Kennett Square. Owner Aimee Olexy is equally addicted to the creamy, odiferous stuff as I am, and she’ll surely have ample suggestions for you or, if the market isn’t busy, she may even make up an impromptu cheese board for you to snack on.
You can also find a nice selection of locally produced fromage at the West Chester, Phoenixville, Oakmont and Kennett Square farmers markets, and possibly also at Whole Foods. The Wynnewood location is especially good at sourcing local products. Other names to look for are Conebella Farm, which makes 15 varieties of raw milk cheese, Amazing Acres and Yellow Springs Farm.
For a great international cheeses, Wegmans, Carlino’s (especially the West Chester location) and the Devon Whole Foods all offer up a fantastic selection. Anytime I’m having a party and looking to buy in quantity, these are my favorite cheese stops. Plus, they all have yummy accoutrements like fig or quince paste, honeycomb, unusual crackers, olives, charcuterie and tapenades. Stock up, and you won’t have to turn on your stove all summer.
On the sweet side of the spectrum, there are two spots that make their own ice cream: Scooped and La Michoacana.
Scooped uses organic milk and serves up decadent combinations like caramel apple pie, Bailey’s Irish Crème, cake batter and chocolate pretzel. A second location in West Chester is in the works, but for now it’s a drive to Pottstown Pike in Upper Uwchlan. For more “scoop,” visit scooped-icecream.com.
You may have heard of Kennett Square’s La Michoacana from us before. We love this place for its completely homemade and untraditional, ethnic-leaning creations that will change everything you thought your taste buds knew about ice cream. Corn, rice pudding, avocado, chili and mushroom are just a few of its unusual flavors. To me, this is the perfect place to go before entertaining at home—and IF you have a foolproof way to get your loot back without melting. After a wonderful meal of tangy salads and char-grilled meats and veggies, these lively flavors will make a memorable grand finale. (If it’s good enough for the White House …) For the location and more info, click here.
Now, this is milk I can stand up for.