The Ledyard, from Meadowood Farms in Cazenovia, New York, is made by Veronica Pedraza, a restaurant-world alumni and former Saxelby monger, who also put in time at Sweetgrass Dairy and the Cellars at Jasper Hill, before taking over the cheesemaking at Meadowood (one “W” in the name) Farms. Meadowood has a herd of East Friesian sheep, from which they make their cheese, dairy and lamb products. I previously reviewed the Ten Eyck from Meadowood.
Ledyward is a leaf-wrapped, soft-ripened ewe’s milk cheese, aged 4-6 weeks. The outer wrapping is made from locally harvested grape leaves, which are soaked in Deep Purple, A wheat beer from Syracuse-based Empire Brewing that is infused with Concord grapes. the beer is fruity and dry, with a distinct grape aroma. This wheel was at peak, the paste soft and fudgy, with an oozing creamline spilling out as soon as the wheel was cut open. The flavor is wonderfully rich, tangy and a little nutty, yeasty and subtly fruity from the wheat beer influence, and a bit gamey and sheepy. A bite with some of the leaf included lends a nice vegetal bitterness.
Purchased at Saxelby Cheesemongers.
Veronica was a guest on Cutting The Curd back in March of 2010 (Episode 22), when she was still working at Jasper Hill; give it a listen! If you’re interested in a life in cheesemaking she has great anecdotes and behind the scenes tips (and a few warnings, like: “cheesemaking is 75% cleaning, 15% record-keeping, and 10% cheesemaking”).
You can also check out Meadowood Farms’ YouTube Channel.