DEAD! The venerable Winchester Cheese Company is no more.
Apparently the old Dutch man who started this traditional raw milk Dutch cheese company out in the wilds of the Inland Empire (in Winchester, near Hemet) passed away, and the kids have no interest in carrying on the tradition.
Their cheese was wonderful-- it tasted just like the cheese you could get from good cheese shops in Holland. Their young raw milk Dutch cheese with cumin-- I could go through blocks of the stuff. Their "old cheese" rivaled a great parmesan in complexity. I originally learned about them in the late 90s through the little Burbank Sunday farmers market, and years later I would occasionally see them at the big Hollywood farmers market on Ivar. For a while back in the early aughts, I remember even seeing their cheese on the shelves of Trader Joe's. Sadly, TJ's supply line was too long, and I remember on several occasions buying moldy cheese. It's a shame-- if this had been a successful partnership, maybe the kids would have seen fit to keep their father's legacy going.
A moment of silence out of respect for the deceased (and his deceased cheese), and for our collective loss.
We had a very similar experience. I guess it was the guy himself who would sell his cheese at the Hillcrest farmer's market most Sundays back 15, 20 years ago? I loved the cheese and it had no impact on lactose intolerance for me. Henry's, sorta local Trader Joe's small chain in San Diego, carried their cheese for a few years. We'll make it a point when going from San Diego to Palm Desert to stop by their place and always buy some cheese. Man, that's a real loss. Bummer. God bless him, his family and that yummie cheese!
Thank you, Mr. Taster, for the very interesting post. A few years ago, a Dutch friend of mine told me that Gouda isn't made much any more in the town of Gouda in Holland, which has become pretty much of a suburban enclave. However, last year a friend brought me some super-aged Gouda from Amsterdam, and first-rate Gouda is still being made on a small scale. It is a terribly underrated cheese owing to the huge amount being mass-produced, but the small-producer stuff is certainly worth looking out for.