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Cheese of the Week: Dorothy's Holy Smoke

Smooth and smoky soft-ripened cheese.

Dorothy's Cheese newest addition to their line of flower-shaped cheese is a soft-ripened cow's milk cheese infused with a touch of smoke. Holy Smoke has a rich, creamy interior with a subtle smoky flavor. The natural smoke flavor is balanced by flavors of butter and fresh cream with slight earthy notes. It has a soft bloomy rind streaked with annatto to give it a beautiful light orange hue. Definitely serve this one at room temperature to take full advantage of its buttery and rich interior! While some smoked cheeses' smokiness can be overwhelming, Holy Smoke has the perfect touch of subtle, natural smoke flavor. The smoky flavor does not mask the creamy, buttery taste of the cheese, instead the flavors work together to create a balanced eating experience.


According to the Dorothy's Cheese official website, the inspiration for Holy Smoke was "remembering cold winter nights, cozy in front of a blazing hearth, that Dorothy decided to find a way to share the fireplace’s warmth and feel in the way she knows best: by turning it into one more delicious cheese." The smoky flavors and creamy, rich texture of this cheese truly impart a homely feel.


The company's namesake, Dorothy Demeter, was born into the cheesemaking business in 1933. Her grandfather Fred Kolb immigrated from France in 1898 and opened a cheesemaking company in Lena, Illinois. Dorothy worked in the dairy most of her life and her passion for cheesemaking helped her to become the first woman in America to earn a degree in dairy science!


Dorothy's Cheese's official website says that "Dorothy fell in love with cows, specifically, the tender, sweet-smelling animals at her grandfather’s Illinois creamery. The creamery soon grew into Kolb-Lena, the loveliest (and first) European-style cheesery in the American Midwest. Dorothy joined quickly to the cheese-making world, working at Kolb-Lena before and after school. Whether it was helping with the cheese or tending to the bees for her family’s honey company, her spunk always shined through. And her parents never had to tell her to say cheese, she smiled just being around it."


The Kolb-Lena dairy was purchased by Savencia Cheese and in 2017, they released the Dorothy Cheese line, inspired by Dorothy and her pioneering spirit in the male-dominated cheesemaking industry. She passed away in 2019.


The Dorothy line of cheeses is made in Lena, Illinois, the original location of Dorothy's family's creamery. The RBST-free cow's milk used to make the cheese comes from farms local to the creamery. The cooperative that the milk is purchased from adheres to the FARM program, which ensures that the dairy cows live in a healthy environment.


The cheeses have proprietary cultures typically found in raw-milk, imparting full and rich flavors. Dorothy's head cheesemaker, Bob, began as an apprentice at the creamery and is passionate about carrying on Dorothy's legacy of creamy textures. The flower shape of Dorothy's cheeses is inspired by the beautiful spring flowers of the Apple River Canyon in Illinois.


Moscato, green apples, fruit crisps and nuts are perfect pairings for the smoky flavor and creamy texture of this cheese. You can find Dorothy's Holy Smoke at Trader Joe's or purchase it online here!

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