Looking for delicious local cheese in Japan?
I think I have finally found the spot!!!
The other day I was introducing some locally produced cheese by Komagata cheese factory in Ohara, the problem is that it's not easy to find and so far I've seen it only at one of the local product retailer Na no hana. So that's quite limiting.
Sunday morning we went to Ohara market on the harbour. I thought it would be fish-only market but in fact it is a quite big (for Japanese standards) farmers market, selling also fresh vegetables and many other things than fishes. That's where I found the stand for Takahide cheese factory. A farm higher inland in Isumi, near Kuniyoshi. Their cheeses look a lot like the ones from Komagata, with a little variation. I picked the Isumi white moon (いすみの白い月) and did not regret that choice. It is perfect!!!
Very much pleased with that choice, we decided to go and check out the farm directly. It's a short drive from our house and a nice one among rice paddies and traditional farms. The Takahide farm is up a hill in a kind of group of dairy farms. There is a little shop where they sell directly, but the stock is not big and I recommend giving them a call before if you are looking for something specific because it seems they don't hold stock very long and depending on the time not every thing is ready yet. They also sell fresh milk and seems to organize some events.
Where it is interesting for you, if you live in Japan and looking for delicious cheeses is that you don't necessarily have to go to a big department stores or an import stores to buy some cheese from France or Italy anymore! Takahide cheese factory has an online shop where they sell their cheeses and fromage blanc!!! It's not cheap but it's really worth the try and it's local at least.
Since cheese cannot be dissociated from bread for me, at least the cheese that you eat, right not the one to top pastas etc... I prepared a plain fougasse with just a little of salt to eat with the Isumi no shiroi tsuki cheese, a very good match. And I tried their reblochon style cheese: Makiba no taiyo まきばの太陽 with a whole wheat bread. It's just insanely good!
Takahide farm in Isumi 高秀チーズ工房: http://www.takahide-cheese.com
Ohara farmers market 大原朝市: every first and third Sunday morning of the month, plus some extra days during holidays, on Ohara harbour.
Kutani yaki 九谷焼: http://kaburaki.jp