Fiscalini Cheese Co.
The Fiscalini family was making cheese in Switzerland as early as 1705. MateoFiscalini emigrated to the United States in the 1890’s and his son John established Fiscalini Farms in Modesto in 1912. The current herd managed by the third and fourth generation of Modesto Fiscalinis’ can proudly claim 100% management of the process, which entitles us to the exclusive right to call our gourmet cheeses “Farmstead”.
Cheesemaker: Mariano Gonzalez
Age: 18 Months or 30 Months
Type: Raw, whole milk, from registered Holsteins, made on a farm, hence Farmstead
Taste: Rich, nutty, buttery, mildly smoky, earthy, with a clean, lovely, mild aftertaste
Style: Traditional English Cheddar, 60 pound clothbound wheels, mold covered, hand-turned daily for 60 days
Texture: Firm, crumbly straw colored, becoming even flakier as it ages from 18 to 30 months.
Fabrication: Raw cow’s milk is heated, a starter culture is added and the milk is stirred while it is heated to a temperature of 100 degrees for 60 minutes. Rennet is added to the mixture and stirred for an additional 35 minutes. When the cheesemaker judges that the curd has set to the proper firmness, the cheese is cut into tiny cubes. The well-known “curds and whey” are then heated and stirred for 20 minutes, when the curds begin to harden and separate from the whey. The whey is removed and the curds remain in the vat and are stirred again. Finally a mat of curds forms, and the cheesemaker shapes and packs the mat, then cuts it into slabs. The slabs are placed on top of one another into piles which flatten over time, and un-stacked and restacked 6 times. This is the “true cheddaring process” an almost forgotten art in America. This procedure changes the texture and enhances the flavor of the cheese. Lastly the slabs are fed into a cheddar mill, which cuts the cheese into small “fingers”. These small slivers of cheese are placed into molds, and then pressed for 18 hours.
Affinage: 60 pound wheels are bandaged in cheesecloth and larded, then placed on wooden shelves and turned every day for two months to insure even moisture distribution throughout the wheel. A unique and ingenious rack system allows the affineur to turn four wheels at a time to drop to a wooden shelf four inches below. This is easier than turning each wheel by hand, and the impact of the heavy wheels striking the wooden shelf also insures the spread of the desirable mold spores throughout the temperature and humidity controlled affinage room.
Awards: The 18-month aged cheese has won the prestigious American Cheese Society’s Award of “Best Farmhouse Cheese in America” in 2002, 2003, and 2004.
The 30-month aged cheese won a silver medal in the “Vintage Cheddar” category of the International World Cheese Awards in 2004.
Pairings: Apples, pears, figs, apricots. Heavy tannic red wines, Port, and sweet white wines.
Uses: Cheese and dessert trays, melting on sandwiches or cooking macaroni and cheese
Cheesemaker: World renowned Mariano Gonzalez, the head cheesemaker at Fiscalini Cheese, is talented at creating artisanal, premium quality, hand crafted, and award winning edible works of art.