Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Aug 3, 2008 12:44 PM

Cowgirl's SF Drake washed-rind cheese

For those of you on the look out for the serendipity that is Cowgirl's "SF Drake" cheese made only a few times a year, a friend brought some to a gathering yesterday. She purchased it at the Cheese Shop in downtown Healdsburg. This ripe sample was pretty ooey-gooey, as in, I used a spoon to get the ooze off the plate. Maybe it's still available at Cowgirl's other retailers.

Here's more about it on Joanne's blog -

Cheese Shop of Healdsburg
423 Center St, Healdsburg, CA

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Saw two and a half rounds of it available in the cheese case at Traverso's, yesterday (Saturday).

    Traverso's Gourmet Foods
    2097 Stagecoach Rd,, Santa Rosa, CA

    1. I picked some up at the Ferry Building last week. This may be one of my most favorite cheeses - creamy and gooey and just a little tangy. I always keep an eye out for it when going by Cowgirl, as its production is somewhat erratic!

      4 Replies
      1. re: little cook

        Generally, I'm not a fan of Cowgirl's cheeses finding them too simple, but I liked this example. When I got home and hit the 'net to find out more about SF Drake, I laughed when I saw Joanne's pictures. The example I had was so soft, it had flattened out to a disk less than an inch thick. But the brownish rind wasn't at all ammoniated, and we all loved it.

        The cheese course also included Andante's "Figaro". Also a beautiful cheese, but this is probably the first time that an Andante cheese was not the star of the plate.

        Matos St. Jorge and Rouge et Noir's triple creme brie completed the offering of local cheeses.

        1. re: Melanie Wong

          would you include cowgirl's red hawk in that estimation? because i was once given a red hawk for a birthday, which i ended up leaving out at a warm temperature for a few hours, and when i put it in my fridge, it overwhelmed everything in there. thankfully it tasted good. but i'm far from a cheesehound.

          thanks for the tip though...this is the only cowgirl cheese i haven't had yet.

          1. re: augustiner

            Every washed rind cheese I've ever tried is incredibly stinky and if it's not, well, it's probably underripe. The taste is generally much milder.

            The examples of Red Hawk that I've tried are usually immature and do not have anywhere near the character of raw milk Epoisses, Alsatian Münster, Ami du Chambertin, etc. For that matter, SF Drake doesn't either but I still found it quite delectable in its own way. A few years ago when I was in Cowgirl's store in Point Reyes Station, I complained about the Red Hawk to the cheesemonger. She acknowledged that they're sold too young and unripe, and that it's because that's how their retailers and consumers prefer the cheese. Sigh.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Cowgirl sells cheese based on what their wholesale customers needs are. A retailer, where the cheese will sit on a shelf for up to a couple of weeks, want their cheeses less ripe (so they can age on the shelf) while a restaurant wants the same cheese in a much riper state to serve immediately, more or less. Cowgirl is still perfecting this program, but it makes sense. So ultimately, it's important to realize that proper time is given to allow the cheese to ripen. BTW Doralice at Cheese Shop definitely knows what she's doing.

      2. Just a heads up: more Drake has surfaced at Traverso's (and apparently the Sonoma Whole Foods, per rworange's post earlier in the week: ). When I last looked a couple of days ago, they had four whole rounds left in the cheese case (4 that is, after one came home with me...mmmmm).

        1. Doralice (the owner) knows what she's doing!

          1. When I left Cheeseboard yesterday there were 2 1/2 rounds left. Tasting my half soon after, letting it breathe and warm a little, it was judged excellent. Another cheese person suggested I try King Island Seal Bay Triple Cream. It is presently available at Andronicos Shattuck. Report on the piece in my refrigerator after Tuesday tasting.