Thursday, May 24, 2012

Andante Dairy

Established in 1999 and owned by Soyoung Scanlan, Andante Dairy is located near Petaluma, just north of San Francisco, California. Soyoung has had successful careers in both the engineering and science worlds, working as a biochemist. She also has a strong background in classical music as an avid pianist, making her a rare combination of talents that seem to converge over the cheesemaking vat.

Having studied the properties of milk and cheesemaking intensely for two years, including a stint at Cal Poly, in San Luis Obispo, Soyoung has become a highly respected figure in the artisan cheese industry. She is known for producing small quantities of extremely high quality cheeses, many of which are made in the French style.

Andante Dairy is located at the Volpi Ranch, which is also the source for Scanlan's goat's milk. Cow's milk comes from the 400 strong herd of Jersey cows at nearby Spring Hill Dairy.

By choice, Soyoung works alone. Her cheesemaking facility is clean, simple, highly organized and has plenty of space to move about. Her early cheesemaking career was greatly encouraged and inspired by Thomas Keller, the owner and chef of the French Laundry in Yountville. Keller and Scanlan both have a tremendous eye for detail and perfection, and it is these qualities that shine though in all aspects of Scanlan's cheese.

At Andante, Scanlan produces a range of cheeses made from cow's, sheep's and goat's milk, or combinations of the three. For example, Andante's Minuet is a soft-ripened, triple crème made using pasteurized goat's milk with Sadie Kendall's famous cow's milk creme fraiche added to the curds.

The result is a cheese that combines the richness of a triple creme with the light tangy qualities imparted by goat's milk and creme fraiche. Flavors are bright and clean and luscious, with a very fine, silky texture and delicious, long finish.

Also, her Andante website is one of the most beautiful sites I have ever had the pleasure of visiting.

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