Add Door County Creamery goat milk gelato to your summer to-do list
SISTER BAY - Goat milk gelato. Yup. It's a thing.
Before I sampled caramel cashew crunch flavor on a tiny plastic spoon at Door County Creamery I'll admit, I was thinking about the common tasting note of every goat cheese I've ever tried: the tanginess. While tangy can be a good quality in cheese, it's not what I want in my gelato.
After sampling several flavors available that day, I can say it was nothing but creamy sweetness.
I was guided through the gelato sampling by Door County Creamery co-owner Jesse Johnson who was also my sampling cohort when it came to dipping housemade crackers into the soft, creamy chevre and toothpicks into the tiny cubes of semi-hard cheeses made on site.
The only disappointment was that lemon cookie, Johnson's favorite flavor, wasn't available. As many as a dozen of Door County Creamery's 23 gelato and six sorbet flavors are available at any given time. Among the more popular flavors, says Johnson, are the aforementioned lemon cookie, salted caramel, roasted almond and fig, and raspberry panna cotta. Also part of the rotation are classic flavors like peanut butter and chocolate, orange dreamsicle and cookie dough.
All the milk for the gelato, cheese and soap comes from the Johnson farm, about a mile from the store, where they raise and milk 130 goats.
When it comes to cheese, Door County Creamery sells chevre plain and mixed with Door County staples like smoked whitefish and cherries. Even the ramps are harvested locally, says Johnson. Other options include fresh herb, truffle and pepperjack.
"I could polish off a tub of pepperjack in one sitting," Johnson said.
I repeatedly sampled the pepperjack as he told me that the chevre is made and sold within three days of the milk coming in, even though it has a four-week shelf life. Still, he says the fresher the better when it comes to chevre.
Falltum falls to the other end of the spectrum. The creamery's signature cheese is made only in late fall when, Johnson says, the goat milk is dense and at its richest. Aged during winter on cedar planks taken from the farm, Falltum makes its first appearance in the shop each spring. There's enough Falltum to meet summer demand. The flavor blends Manchego-like earthiness and Parmesan-like sharpness with a little Gouda-like creaminess.
Goat feta and brick cheeses are also made regularly at the creamery and, if it's your lucky day, goat cheese curds.
Door County Creamery also carries a selection of other artisan cheeses that can be added to the goat cheese options on a cheese board. There are plenty of bottles of wine and beer to pair as well.
Or, if you dare, ask about the cheese curd sandwich (it's kind of a secret) that's not listed among the modest selection of sandwiches.
For the rule followers there's a rotation of featured sandwiches and a lineup of regulars that includes a BLT served on a toasted hearty bread with smoked bacon, arugula, tomato, aioli and goat brick. The extra kick of tang from the goat brick is a welcome addition.
Door County Creamery brings a couple of goats from the farm to a pen outside the shop during the summer months though customers who want a closer look at the source can sign up for a tour and meal that includes a trip to the Johnson farm, and gelato and cheese tasting before returning to the Creamery in Sister Bay for lunch ($43). Tour days vary by month, check the Door County Creamery website for availability.
» Hours: 10:30 a.m.- 9 p.m. (kitchen closes 5 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 7 p.m. Friday-Saturday)
» Location: 10653 N. Bay Shore Drive, Sister Bay
» Phone: 920-854-3388
Contact Daniel at 920-996-7214 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @HigginsEats and LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/higginseats/.