Sunday, January 22, 2012

Day 711 : St. Pete's Blue and the Caves of Faribault

Location : Faribault, MN 
In the small town of Faribault, Minnesota are caves that are remnants from the last glacial age, crafted from St. Peter's Sandstone -- a rare geological phenomena found in a greater quantity in this little corner of the world but pretty rare elsewhere. Originally utilized by Fleckenstein Brewing company from the 1850s until Prohibition to craft, store, and chill beer. With the end of Prohibition, the caves were discovered by the cheesemaker Felix Fredericksen and suddenly there was a new usage for them -- cheesemaking. In fact, Fredericksen was the first cheesemaker to craft blue cheese in the United States. Prior to the 1930s, all the blue cheese consumed in this country was imported, but Fredericksen put a stop to that!
Fredericksen and his company Treasure Cave, Inc operated out of the caves of Fairbault till the end of the 20th Century when they moved their operation to Wisconsin. But fret not, in 2001, the Fairbault Dairy Company was founded to bring life back to these sandstone caves steeped in history. Now they craft a variety of blue cheeses, St. Pete's Select being my favorite. Creamy yet spicy and punchy, this three month aged blue is infused with the sandstone terroir in the most excellent of manners... Great with a pint of Ommegang's Abbey Ale and some raisin walnut bread. A true example of small scale American artisanal cheesemaking!

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