Ricotta means “recooked” in Italian. It’s a fresh cheese made from cow, goat, sheep, or Italian water buffalo whey leftover from cheese making after curd gets strained out; most American ricottas are cow-based. Italian ricottas come in many varieties and some are even protected by law. Milk can be added during production or replace whey in some cases, but the recycled whey is what gives ricotta its name.
Well surprise, surprise! Original latkes were actually made from cheese, and their inspiration comes from Judith’s murder of Holofernes, a story associated with Hanukkah in Medieval Mediterranean Europe.
Despite being a naughty, spoonable, almost fondue-like cheese, Jasper Hill’s Harbison has surprisingly wholesome origins. Originally named for Anne Harbison, a resident of Jasper Hill Farm’s hometown in Vermont and nicknamed the Grandmother of Greensboro, Harbison is a soft-ripened, bloomy-rinded cheese made from the farm’s own pasteurized Ayrshire cows’ milk and wrapped in spruce bark harvested from the local land.
Sophelise is a pasteurized milk cheese from Cricket Creek Farm in Massachusetts that comes in roughly 9 ounce wheels—perfect for a small party or an indulgent meal for two (or one, no judgment).
I honestly know nothing about cheesemaking in the southeastern U.S., despite growing up there—which is why I was utterly delighted to find out about Thomasville Tomme. Made at Sweet Grass Dairy in Thomasville, Georgia, this is a raw milk cow cheese modeled after a French Pyrenees mountain style tomme.