“Share the spirits!” So goes the saying at Five Saints Distilling in Norristown, where fans also can share the caramels thanks to a collaboration with chocolatier Gail Warner.
“It’s almost like cross-marketing,” said the owner of Bridge Street Chocolates in Phoenixville. “It’s a way for us to keep the dollar local, which changes lives within our own communities.”
Her blood orange-sea salt caramels feature Five Saints’ blood orange liqueur.
“It showcases the quality of local artisans,” Warner described. “If we don’t support each other, how do we expect other people to support us?”
“It’s like ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ It takes a village to support the small businesses,” agreed Olga Sorzano of Baba’s Brew in Phoenixville.
Like her kombucha? Try Baba’s Got a Brand New Brew, a beer-kombucha blend with Royersford’s Stickman Brews.
Last year’s release “was extremely successful,” she said. This April, look for solera-style beer and strawberry shortcake kombucha, which “is going to be a little bit lighter, a little bit sweeter.”
Another sweet success story: Bathed in Victory cheeses from The Farm at Doe Run in Coatesville. That’s “Victory” as in Downingtown’s Victory Brewing Company.
“We’re using about one beer for every 12 pounds of cheese,” explained Matthew Hettlinger, a Doe Run cheesemaker. “We’re really happy with how the beer notes came out in the cheese.”
Also in the works: projects with Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye Whiskey and Bluecoat American Dry Gin.
“It’s great meeting new people and doing unique things,” he added.
Other cheesemakers are teaming up too like Sue Miller of Birchrun Hills Farm in Chester Springs and Stefanie Angstadt of Valley Milkhouse in Oley. In 2016, they launched Collective Creamery, a cheese club/subscription service with pickup locations across the area.
“The cheese that you get from Collective Creamery has a story behind it,” expressed Alex Jones, operations manager. “I think a lot of chef culture, a lot of great ideas are born out of collaboration.”
“It’s a really interesting movement in the world: How can we work together?” Miller said. “The rising tide floats all ships. To me, that’s really positive.”
Collective Creamery Cheese Ball
8 ounces Clover cheese (Valley Milkhouse)
4 ounces Birchrun Blue, crumbled
1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
Local honey, to taste
½ cup finely chopped walnuts
To temper cheeses, leave at room temperature for 45 minutes. Blend in rosemary and honey. Form into a ball and roll in walnuts. Chill and serve with seasonal fruits and vegetables. Add a sliced baguette or whole grain crackers.
RECIPE COURTESY OF COLLECTIVE CREAMERY
Wine or beer and cheese… yes, please!
Savor Bathed in Victory cheeses with — you guessed it — their namesake beers. Find Bathed in Victory Hop Devil, Golden Monkey, Dirt Wolf or Storm King (seasonally) at Kimberton Whole Foods and Kennett Square’s Talula’s Table, among other places.
“The idea was to have a cheese that would pair well with beer,” said Matthew Hettlinger, one of two cheesemakers at The Farm at Doe Run. “The flavors really pop when you combine the cheese and beer together.”
Alex Jones of Collective Creamery includes a newsletter with each share, suggesting ways to enjoy the club’s cheeses. For example, Blue Bell from Valley Milkhouse “plays well with malty, nutty brown ales and wintry spiced beers or a robust, bold red wine.”
And Equinox from Birchrun Hills Farm “makes a delicious snack served with your favorite crisp crackers, slices of dill pickle and a hop-forward pilsner or white wine spritzer.”