Bone Char Square
Crown Finish Caves / Old Chatham Sheepherding Co. - Chatham, NY and Brooklyn, NY
Saxelby Cheesemongers is thrilled to announce the arrival of Bone Char Square - a new cheese that is the fruit of a collaboration between our friends at Blue Hill Stone Barns, Crown Finish Caves, and Old Chatham Sheepherding Company! Prior to its launch on saxelbycheese.com, the only way to savor this cheese was to dine at Stone Barns and hope that it made its way into your tasting menu rotation of farm-fresh delights. Now you can purchase this cheese directly from Saxelby Cheesemongers and enjoy it in your own home!
Bone Char Square is a mixed milk cheese (75% cow and 25% goat) that is made at Old Chatham Sheepherding Co. in New York’s Hudson Valley. The young cheeses are dusted with a fine coating of bone ash produced by Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and aged by the expert affineurs at Crown Finish Caves until they reach three weeks of age and are ripe and ready to eat! Bone Char Square is tangy, grassy, and distinctly earthy with a tannic and mineral finish imparted by the bone ash.
Bone Char Square was conceived by chef Dan Barber and his team up at Blue Hill Stone Barns as a part of their crusade to cook the most delicious food imaginable using the most sustainable means of farming, production, and harvest possible. One of their imperatives is to not waste anything that comes out of their kitchen - bones left over from stock-making are carbonized in a special high-heat, low-oxygen environment and then used as charcoal that imparts a smokier, fattier, gamier flavor to anything cooked on the grill.
Chef Barber wanted to see if the ash from the ground up bone charcoal could be applied to the surface of the cheese, like the famed ashed goat cheeses of the Loire Valley, and if so, what flavors would it impart? Enter Saxelby Cheesemongers and Crown Finish Caves. Saxelby Cheesemongers is Blue Hill’s trusted partner in crime when it comes to their cheese selection. We tested out several different cheeses for this project, and landed on the Old Chatham Square because of it’s crisp, tart-yet-buttery, and slightly yeasty flavor profile.
Crown Finish Caves completes the final, and most crucial part of the puzzle for this one-of-a-kind cheese. Their temperature and humidity controlled caves - old lagering tunnels located deep beneath the streets of Brooklyn - provide the ideal environment for these little cheeses to mature and develop flavor. The cheeses arrive at Crown Finish Caves when they are one week old - fresh, young, and rindless. The cheeses are then dried in a special ‘sechoir’ or drying fridge, to prime the surface of the cheese to grow the right kind of rind. The cheeses are then dusted with the bone ash and moved into the caves to grow their supple bloomy rinds.