Cheese of the Month: Shellbark Hollow Farm's Extra Sharp Cherve

by Tenaya Darlington,

Pete demchur might be the only cheesemaker in America making extra sharp chevre. He produces an array of goat’s milk specialties from his long-established herd in Chester County, including kefir and yogurt, but the recipe for Shellbark’s Extra Sharp remains his best-kept secret—and his personal favorite. Drizzled with buckwheat honey, it crosses the line into sublime.

Shellbark’s Extra Sharp tastes like a meadow, amplified. It’s creamy and herbaceous, full of flavor without a pronounced goaty tang. If you find those snow-white logs of grocery store chevre banal or too sour, then you’ll appreciate this artisanal variation.
“My milkers eat Western Alfalfa,” Demchur says, proudly. “It’s primo. You could make tea out of that stuff.” So, maybe that’s the secret to his great-tasting cheese. After all, quality feed makes for quality milk.

Shellbark Hollow cheeses are available at local farmers’ markets, including the Piazza at Schmidts and Chestnut Hill. You can also find them at DiBruno Bros. and the Fair Food Farmstand in Reading Terminal Market.

When you’re ready for your next lesson in sharp chevre, try Shellbark’s Crottin, an aged version with a peppery kick. Demchur debuted it this spring, after traveling to France to study cheesemaking with Pyrenees farmers. His Crottins are sold in small rounds, and you’ll notice a marvelous flinty hook that catches deep in your cheek pockets—it could almost make you whinny.

Shellbark Hollow Farm, 942 Cornwallis Dr., West Chester, PA, 610-431-0786,