One of the great joys that often gets overlooked in the world of cheesemaking are the wonderful people we meet and the friendships that develop as we pursue our goals as home cheesemakers.
I first met Crystal at an Art of Cheese Asiago class and rarely has a day past since then that we haven’t texted each other, excited about the cheeses we are making, as well as the cheeses we are planning to make soon. And make no mistake about it, Crystal’s enthusiasm and commitment to cheesemaking is infectious and inspiring!
Hailing from Monument, CO, Crystal began her pursuit of cheesemaking in October of 2018 with a dry salted feta after watching all The Art of Cheese videos. Since then, she has pursued her passion “full gas” and has made 18 different varieties of cheese in the last 6 months, including such challenging cheeses as a Marbler (Morbier style) and the Desert Sunset (Talleggio style). Yes, you read that right, 18, and usually in 4-gallon batches. Luckily for Crystal, her husband and two kids love her cheeses and fuel her passion to continuously develop her skills. When asked what cheese she enjoys making the most, Crystal proudly exclaims, “I love making Manchego style cheeses because Manchego is such a tasty cheese. The make is pretty easy and, if you use the basket form, it’s beautiful.” Well on her way to achieving her Gold certificate with The Art of Cheese, Crystal’s biggest challenge is “Not having enough space to age my cheeses. I’d love to be able to age cheeses for 6+ months, but space is limited.”
In addition to cheesemaking, Crystal loves to cook and bake. “I’ve been buying 50-pound bags of wheat and grinding my own flour for the last 12+ years. I love the outdoors… camping, hiking, and spending time with my family in nature.” Ever the meticulous artisan, Crystal exclaims, “I would like to share that I have started vacuum sealing my cultures after I open them to hopefully keep them fresher longer.” I must admit I find this a bit humorous because from what I can tell, her cultures have a fairly short lifespan in the kitchen. And as for her “whey baths,” well, you’ll just have to ask Crystal about those, though I’m sure you’ll agree from her photo that her skin would make a Jarlsberg blush!
When asked about her future plans for cheese making, Crystal enthusiastically replies, “I’m just having fun making, eating and sharing my cheese. I must say that I’ve enjoyed all the classes and instructors at The Art of Cheese. All of the recipes have turned out perfectly and I’ve learned so much.” If you ask me, it won’t be long before Crystal has her own creamery (I’m already trying to get her to hire me) and I reckon I’ll be camping out the night before to make sure I’m the first in line for one of her insanely beautiful creations!
Submitted by Jim Lillibridge