Remember last week, when sommeliers were the new chefs? (It was a few days after mixololgists had become the new chefs.) Well, things move fast around here because now cheese makers are the new rock stars.
A literal example would be Alex James, the bass player for Blur. When not reuniting with the band, he lives on a UK farm with his wife and kids and is the big cheese of a mini cheese making empire called Evenlode Partnership, turning out fine firm goat cheeses and creamy blues.
In Canada, you've got David Woods and his pressed pansy and rosemary Saltspring Island Cheese Company cheeses with their cult-like fan base. Carmelis cheese in Kelowna, where the goats wander outside while you sample from over a dozen goat cheeses and goat milk gelatos inside, also draws stadium-like crowds. Prince Edward County's Fifth Town Artisan Cheese Co makes their cheeses sing using goat and sheep's milk and organic rennet. Meanwhile, you haven't lived until you've tried Fromagerie Tournevent of Chesterville's goat's milk Chevre Noir (a cheddar).
At Niagara's Upper Canada Cheese Company, they have their own herd of Guernsey cows (groupies) for the milk, which they turn into a trio of sought after Niagara Gold, Comfort Cream and fresh ricotta cheeses. When I visited the wee factory, the head cheese maker walked me through the process and I realized that cheese making couldn't be easier. And then I thought, hey, I want to be a cheese making rock star too.
Make this fresh yogurt cheese, and I'll let you be my roadie.
Buy a 750 gram container of plain yogurt. (If you use low fat probiotic yogurt, it'll likely be the healthiest cheese you'll ever eat.)
Place a couple of layers of cheesecloth in a colander set over a bowl. Add the yogurt and let it drain overnight in the refrigerator. The consistency you're after is that of a soft cream cheese. (Tip: If you don't have cheesecloth, heavy duty paper towel does the trick, but change it a couple of times during the draining process.)
When ready to eat, top with a drizzle of good olive oil and some za'atar, and spread onto warm pita.