Grilled Shane’s Favorite Holiday Cheeses

The Ohio cheese scene just keeps growing, so there are many local cheeses to choose from for every occasion. Here I have chosen to highlight three that would be perfect for your holiday cheese board: Yellow House Blue, made by Yellow House Cheese, of Seville; Markko Gouda, made by Mayfield Road Creamery, of Orwell; and Owl Creek, made by Kokoborrego, located in Mount Gilead. These cheeses are hearty, handmade cheeses with complex flavors that will impress holiday guests and serve as a great introduction to other local or Ohio cheeses.

Yellow House Blue

– Raw Milk

– Sheep’s Milk

– Aged at least 60 Days

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe blue cheese that you typically find at your local grocery store is made from cow’s milk. However, Yellow House Cheese has created a unique blue cheese using sheep’s milk. This 2013 American Cheese Society (ACS) winner, has a semi-hard, crumbly texture and an earthy, nutty flavor. As is the case with all raw milk cheeses, there is an added layer of unique flavor. Since this cheese is hand made, the blue cheese veins and sharp blue flavor will vary from each chunk/wheel.

Mayfield Road Creamery Markko Gouda

 – Raw Milk

– Cow’s Milk

– Aged at least 60 Days

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEveryone knows wine and cheese go hand in hand. This Markko Gouda combines handmade Gouda with the pressed grapes from Markko Vineyard’s Cabernet Sauvignon to produce one delicious creation. With a very smooth and creamy texture the cheese is very inviting, with an inherent grape-like flavor from months of soaking. This process gives the cheese a nice tang and a great overall taste. So, why not enjoy your wine and cheese together in this great combination?

Kokoborrego Owl Creek

 – Raw Milk

– Sheep’s Milk

– Aged at least 3-4 months

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother ACS award-winning cheese, and Kokoborrego’s signature variety, Owl Creek has a semi-hard, crumbly texture but offers a sweeter taste, with hints of nuttiness within the unique raw milk flavor. This cheese is perfect for grating, like an aged Parmesan or Romano. Owl Creek is not overpowering but will leave your palate with a lasting hint of sweetness that will keep you coming back for more.

I am recommending these selections based on their distinctive qualities and complex flavors. They are the perfect base to any cheese board this holiday season. Add in some other Ohio cheeses such as a Mackenzie Creamery goat cheese, or a Lake Erie Creamery Blomma and your favorite nuts, crackers and chutney and your company will be impressed with your presentation.

Ready to shop for a party? Heinen’s offers a fantastic selection of local cheeses, including these three. Don’t be afraid to ask for a sample before you buy, or to ask one of their cheese experts for advice.

Discover other Ohio creameries by visiting the Ohio Cheese Guild’s website, The recently-formed organization hopes to shine a spotlight on Ohio’s artisan cheesemakers.

Long Live the Grilled Cheese,

Shane Kearns (aka Grilled Shane)


Note: Shane Kearns is a life-long cheese fanatic and the author of Melt: 100 Amazing Adventures in Grilled Cheese. Shane also blogs at Grilled We asked Shane to highlight some of his local picks for the upcoming holiday season. Shane is a member of the Ohio Cheese Guild and hopes to open a gourmet cheese store.