Great cheese, great fudge, great cause. September 21, 2013Posted by ourfriendben in Uncategorized.
Tags: Abbey of Gethsemani, Gethsemani Farms, Trappist cheeses, Trappist fruitcake, Trappist fudge, Trappist monks
Silence Dogood here. Now that our friend Ben and I have placed our order, OFB has agreed to let me post about Gethsemani Farms’ delicious cheeses. The Trappist monks at the Abbey of Gethsemani, just a few miles from my mother’s birthplace in rural Kentucky, support themselves and their mission by making cheese, fudge, and fruitcake. (You may have heard of one of their monks, Brother Louis, better known as the writer Thomas Merton.)
My parents loved the monks’ cheeses and ordered them every year; their favorite was the aged cheese, which resembles a fine Port du Salut, not suprising since the original group of monks came to Kentucky from France in 1848. Aged “monks’ cheese,” as we called it, was a bit strong for us kids, so our parents got to enjoy it all by themselves. But we loved the mild version and the fudge, and when the monks introduced pesto cheese a few years ago, our friend Ben and I became addicts.
OFB and I simply adore the monks’ bourbon fudge, both classic chocolate pecan and butter walnut. They’re the closest to homemade we’ve ever tasted. (And both our mamas made some mean fudge.) They’re so addictive, we only order them as a treat at Christmas, and of course order them, cheese, and fruitcake as Christmas gifts.
Fruitcake: love it or hate it. It’s either “When’s Christmas coming so I can have some fruitcake?” or “Get even, give fruitcake.” OFB and I fall in the latter category, so we can’t tell you how good the monks’ fruitcake is. But our fruitcake-loving friend Rob and my father both thought it was the best ever (after, of course, my mother’s), and The Wall Street Journal agrees. We order Rob a Gethsemani fruitcake for Christmas every year, and when he’s devoured the last crumb, we start hearing the lamentations (partly as a joke but mostly because he’d really like a second fruitcake). So if you’re a fruitcake fanatic, check it out!
To get back to why I’m just now telling you about the monks’ offerings, last year, for the first time, they offered four new cheeses: Ambrose, the young, buttery cheese that is the basis for their mild, aged, smoky and pesto cheeses, and three herbed varieties of Ambrose, Spicy Italian, Herbs de Provence and Garlic and Chives. We placed an order and were wowed, but when we tried to reorder, they were sold out. Gack!
Apparently, the monks have taken note of the huge success of Ambrose and its herbed varieties, and their latest catalog offers the four cheeses and various cheese, fudge and fruitcake combinations. I immediately ordered three each of the 6-ounce wedges of each cheese, since I didn’t want to run out this year! OFB is already drooling. We’ll order fudge for ourselves and fudge, cheese and fruitcake as Christmas presents when the season draws closer, but for now, our stash of Ambrose and herbed cheeses is secure. Hooray!
We feel great about buying cheese, fudge and gifts from the monks, since we’re not only supporting them, but they use the profits from their products to support the local community, especially the poor and less fortunate. And that of course brings me back to the beloved place of my childhood, spending time with my grandparents just miles from Gethsemani, the happiest time of my entire childhood. How wonderful to be able to eat delicious treats and also give back.
Check them out at http://www.gethsemanifarms.org, or just Google http://www.monks.org and you’ll get to their website. Order, eat, enjoy, and know that you’re supporting a great cause! And make sure you get some of that Ambrose and the herbed cheeses before they’re gone.
‘Til next time,