Sunday, September 26, 2010

Valley Shepherd Creamery (New York, NY) -- LOCATION MOVED

September 2010

79 Sullivan St
Manhattan, NY 10012
(646) 476-2893

Valley Shepherd's tiny new, narrow retail store opened up on Sullivan St. in SoHo about two weeks ago and already, it looks lived in. Just to the left of the narrow entranceway, there's a slightly beat-up looking refrigerator like the sort used to house sodas in old school corner stores, sparsely stocked with fresh Ewegurt (sheep's milk yogurt), fresh pastas, and small, sample sized wedges of various cheeses. Three steps in, there's a butcher store-esque display case of cheeses with a bulletin board above it advertising a disconcertingly long list of offerings -- a long list for a small store! Two steps ahead of that, there's a cash register, then a back room. And that's pretty much the extent of it.

I was walking home with a shopping bag already full of goodies from the Red Hook ball fields, so just popped my head in for a second to grab a few wedges of pre-cut cheese from the case. My loot included one small wedge, each, of Oldwick Shepherd, Pepato Shepherd and Tewksbury, all made at the Valley Shepherd Creamery in New Jersey. All three had the lovely bite and texture of aged raw goat milk cheese and though they're really meant to be grated over pastas and other dishes, I thought they paired beautifully with the honey roasted mixed nuts I happened to have in my desk. The Tewksbury was the most buttery of the bunch with a trace of caramel. The Oldwick and Pepato were drier, saltier and more crumbly; the Pepato had just a small hint of black peppercorn. The only thing that marred the flavor of these cheeses was the slight taste of tape on the outer layer, which must've leached from the homemade packaging.

Valley Shepherd has been selling at farmers' markets and to restaurants (including Le Bernardin http://newyork.serious...) for several years, now, and is perhaps singlehandedly putting NJ on the map as a cheese making state. This new Sullivan St. location is quite a welcome addition to the fold, especially for those of us who do better with a stationary target.

They're open Tuesdays through Sundays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Prices are surprisingly reasonable. (All the 2-3 oz. sample sized wedges of cheese were less than $3.) Hopefully I'll be able to duck in there and try a few more cheeses in peace before the mobs start descending.

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