We have enjoyed working with Ali Morgan from Scardello so much in the past as she helps us with cheese, and even beer selections, that we have asked her to to write a weekly column on both beer and cheese. I think you will enjoy her picks. We hope she is able to write a weekly column, but the spunky girl stays hopping busy so forgive her if she misses a few deadlines.
The first cheese I want to showcase is one of my favorites, Tea Hive by Pat Ford from the Beehive Cheese Company out of Utah. I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to hang out with Pat several times since I first dove into the cheese world in 2009, and let me tell you, he is just as brilliant as his cheese is! Pat has several award winning cheeses, including Barely Buzzed, Full Moon, Promontory, Sea Hive, and our featured cheese, Tea Hive.
Like many people in the cheese world, Pat’s first career was not as a cheese-maker. However, after several years in software and real estate, Pat said, “to hell with it, I want to make cheese!”
Most of Pat’s original cheeses started with, “Well, we have these ingredients lying around, what do you think it would taste like if we rubbed our cheese with them?” Thus began his first cheese, Barely Buzzed, an espresso and lavender rubbed cheese, and then a couple years later, Tea Hive, with many in between of course.
Tea Hive is a cheddar-style cheese with a rind that has been rubbed with black tea and bergamot oil. It is not only delicious, but has soothing and relaxing qualities from the blend of black tea and bergamot on the rind. The brilliant aspect of this cheese is that it is not only a cheddar with tea on the rind, but after it ages, the interior of the cheese takes on this nuance of the tea and bergamot, allowing you to experience these flavors from the start to the finish of the cheese.
A simple taste of this cheese will not merely be enough! You can pair it with a pilsner, chocolate stout, or fruit forward or floral wines.
Being a tea lover, I was instantly drawn to this cheese at the American Cheese Society Conference, which is where it made its first debut this year. Walking up to Pat’s booth at the conference, I gave him a giant hug before stuffing my face with all of his wonderful cheeses. Since he has so many fun cheeses to offer I thought how neat it would be to offer to our guests at Scardello exclusive Beehive gift boxes for the holidays, and to my luck, he obliged.
I also inquired as to when we could get the Tea Hive for our shop. Well, much to our surprise he said that he would send some our way as soon as he got home from the conference allowing us to be the first, and only retailer to sell this wonderful cheese. Thankfully, much like us, Pat has a special place in his heart for Scardello.
Months later, after sharing the cheese with several chefs and restaurants we can hardly keep it in the cheese case! My most recent run in with Pat was a couple weeks ago in Florida. We were eating lunch when I received a text message from Chef Nicole Van Camp raving about how much she loved Tea Hive and wanted to have it on the cheese plate at all her dinners. I giggled as I leaned over and showed him what she said. The grin that spread across his face was priceless and makes what I do so much more relevant.
Soon, Tea Hive will be in many cheese shops around Dallas and the United States. So, cheese lovers, keep your eyes out for this delicious beauty. For those wanting to share this cheese with friends for the holidays, Scardello will be offering a selection of Beehive gift boxes featuring several of Pat’s cheeses.