Local creamery wins first-place medal for chipotle gouda
Most artisans might try their hand at local competitions before seeking the national stage. Not the cheese makers at Rochester, Indiana’s, Schnabeltier creamery.
Schnabeltier took home a first-place medal for its chipotle gouda in the nationwide U.S. Championship Cheese Contest, the largest and most prestigious cheese competition in America, in March. The cheese scored an impressive 99.5 out of 100, making it the best in class. This is the first year the creamery entered this competition, and its first award.
“We were curious to see how we stacked up,” says Matthew Sutton, vice president of marketing. “This is one way of getting our name out there.”
Schnabeltier is a new creamery and winery in Rochester started by a group of friends who were inspired by the excellent cheeses they tasted during their frequent trips to Europe. Those trips inspired the company’s unusual name. Schnabeltier, pronounced SHNAH-bell-teer, is the German word for platypus, an animal that contains “all the good things.” The company’s logo is a drawing of a platypus, and Sutton emphasized that the team tries to have fun with the business.
“It’s important for us not to be snobbish,” says Sutton. “We want to make this stuff fun. We want to make high-quality cheese, but we’re not pretentious about it. We just want to make stuff that people will like.”
The cheese is made with local ingredients, including milk from Lemler Farms in Bourbon, Indiana. “They have just amazing cows—all pasture-fed, no hormones or antibiotics. It’s a mixed herd, so the butterfat content is through the roof. That’s what we’re looking for to create really good cheese,” explains Sutton.
Schnabeltier has 25 varieties and flavors of cheese for sale, along with 15 varieties of wine. The most popular cheese, says Sutton, is the chipotle gouda.
“We try different cheeses just about every month. For a few of our batches, we try to come up with something a little different. The chipotle was one of our most popular even before it won an award,” says Sutton.
Other varieties available include a jalapeño white cheddar, an espresso gouda and aged gouda. Sutton pointed out that one of the perks of making both cheese and wine is that they’re able to create wines that will go well with their cheeses. Each wine and cheese label features a recommended pairing.
Which wine pairs best with the chipotle gouda? While the answer is usually Moscato or a sweet wine, Sutton’s personal favorite is the Syrah. “It’s got a peppery flavor that complements the chipotle,” he says. “It cleanses your palate for the next bite.”
Schnabeltier is active in the northern Indiana community and plans to host several events over the summer, including car shows, live music and a pet day. A full schedule is available online at Schnabeltier.com.
You can find Schnabeltier cheese in South Bend at the Purple Porch Co-op or Bamber’s Superette. LaSalle Grille also uses their products on its menu. Schnabeltier wine is only available at the shop in Rochester, although the company is looking to expand its reach. Next year, says Sutton, Schnabeltier is setting its sights on the world cheese competition in Wisconsin.
“We’re pretty proud of our cheese.”