Hidden along a winding country road in the hills of Dundee, a quaint, cream-colored building houses Briar Rose Creamery. Established in 2010, this small-town operation may seem remote but recently has been churning out some seriously award-winning cheeses.
In November, Briar Rose’s Carena competed among 3,000 cheeses and earned a silver medal at the 2016 World Cheese Awards in Spain. In the same month, the company’s Classic Chevre was selected as a 2017 Good Food Awards finalist. Twenty-six cheese finalists were chosen (three from Oregon), making it one the best cheeses in America. Stay tuned…winners will be announced in January.
Specializing in Chevre, French for “goat”, Briar Rose sources its goat milk from Tideland Dairy Goats in Tillamook, Oregon, churning it into fresh and aged cheeses—not to mention goat cheese truffles that are melt-in-your-mouth-good.
Cheesemaker Sarah Marcus first started working with curds in California where experiments in her kitchen lead to working behind the counter at the Cowgirl Creamery in San Francisco. After a slew of cheesemaking classes and apprenticeships, she set up shop in the heart of Oregon wine country. We asked Sarah about her creamery, Carena, and what she loves about making cheese:
What originally attracted you to the Dundee area?
My husband has family in the area, so we were familiar with Yamhill County and Portland. We love the vibrant food community here with so many great wineries, restaurants, and family farms so when it came time to look for a place to build our creamery, Yamhill County was the perfect place. We got lucky to find a beautiful spot outside of Dundee where we could live and build our creamery.
Tell us a little about Carena: how do you describe the flavor and what was your reaction when you found out it earned the silver medal?
Carena is an Alpine-style goat cheese. It is like a combination of Asiago, Gruyere, and Parmesan. The texture is firm, fudgy, and chewy. The flavor is bright with hints of honey, passionfruit, olives, and toasted nuts.
I am blown away by the recognition and proud to have one of our cheeses honored with a silver medal in Spain! It really is incredible to see the name Carena from Briar Rose Creamery listed with so many other cheeses that I adore.
What do you like most about making cheese?
I love the creative process that goes into making cheese. It is the perfect marriage of art and science. Plus, at the very end of the day, I can look around and see the results of what I did that day. I can say, “I made that!”