Cheeses from Chiba

When we first settled in Isumi, and I found a cheese factory right down our valley I was really happy! Soon after that At Ohara harbor market I found Takahide farm and another Yojuemon cheese factory. This was more than enough in a country that doesn’t have a strong milk and cheese culture and I was fully satisfied. To be honest the closest cheese factory: Komagata, was good enough when I knew only that one, but as soon as I found Takahide, I stopped buying cheese there, as Takahide cheeses are so much better. Takahide has three delicious original cheeses: a reblochon style, a small creamy one that recently comes in different maturity (the more matured one on the picture below is just perfect) and a blue cheese, that is so perfectly made that even I who don’t really like blue cheese I love! The plus with Takahide is that they have also mozzarella and fromage blanc, and for those who like ice creams, and what for me is really important, they have their own milk farm. So when going to the cheese shop you can see the cows and how well treated they are. Takahide cheeses won several international awards and have attracted a lot of media attention a few years ago and the shop, which use to be a small counter inside the cheese factory is now a little cafe space where you can drink a delicious coffee and eat a pizza made with fresh mozzarella while looking at the cows.

Yojuemon makes ricotta mainly, or at least that’s what I always buy from them. And it’s a really good one. I usually buy at Ohara harbor market on Sunday morning.

But the whole point of this post is not to review what I already more or less said before… it’s to introduce a new cheese factory. This one is not in Isumi, but in Otaki, on the way to Yorokeikoku. It is called Sen . I discovered it thanks to some people I follow on IG. Sen is open only the first Sunday of the month, but luckily we had no plan but to go to Katsuura to see the Hina matsuri last Sunday, and with the terrible rain we thought that a drive in the country to see plum trees blossoming and early sakura would be great. So we headed up to Sen. The place is really cute, old houses, polish garden on top of a hill. Picturesque.

We were warmly welcome, and the cheese shop offer several varieties of cheese, even raclette cheese!!! I bought one small cheese but when the owner realized we were French we start chatting (in French) about her stay in France to study French cheeses, and the cheese she makes, and she offered me one of her award winning hash cheese. We also took a tour of the old buildings.

Once back home I prepared breads: fougasse with walnuts, and campagne bread and couldn’t wait to try them. Well to be honest, you don’t need bread. They were delicious just like that. It is very interesting because they are very different than Takahide cheeses, with probably stronger milk and cheeses flavors (probably due from her training in France!). The maturity also was great, with a creamy side below the crust. It was a great discovery!!

Now I have one favorite cheese farm and one favorite cheese factory!!!!

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