Mesa in the City
A second-generation artisan foods purveyor, craft chocolate). He says of the Mesa Farm's Tomme, “We tasted something really special in this cheese,” and in cooperation with Ramsley, he has been transferring wheels of young cheese to the Caputo’s cheese caves in Salt Lake City to be further finessed and matured by full-time affineur, Antonia Horne, under optimal humidity and temperature conditions. There, they direct-sell from the deli and send to restaurants versions of this alpine-style cheese, including a traditional tomme (alternatively spelled “tome”) wrapped in goat butter-soaked bandages and aged several months and a 60-day “Barely Legal” Tome, named for the minimum number of days required by law for aging raw goat cheese.
Cheese nerds (guilty, as charged) regularly stalk the Caputo’s social media streams to see when the “Barely Legal” Raw Goat Tome will be released. It usually sells out before noon.
Matt Caputo continues preaching to our happily cheese-headed choir, “It’s important that artisans like Randy exist, and our goal is to preserve these old world traditions,” in cheese making, charcuterie and other food arts. While Mesa Farm products comprise a unique niche among the hundreds of cheeses available at any one time through Caputo’s, Horne oversees a bevy of local and imported cheeses getting special treatment in the cheese caves. She’s constantly monitoring, testing, flipping, washing, soaking, wrapping and rewrapping cheeses from all over the world.
But they’ve got a special affinity for hand-crafted Utah-made cheeses, with some products made specifically in partnership with local chefs and restaurants.
“We’re incredibly lucky to have Caputo’s just down the street from us,” Pallet Bistro co-owner Esther Imotan says regarding the market’s flagship store location less than a block away from the elegant and cozy west-side bistro. And of having access to cheeses made by Mesa Farm, Beehive Cheese and other local artisans, Imotan says with a grin, “Maybe it’s the fact that it’s local, we think the Utah cheeses bring a bit more love in the mouth.”
But their sourcing is serious business.
Pallet Bistro chef-owner Buzz Wiley puts together one of the most gorgeous cheese and charcuterie boards in a city filled with appreciation for that particular plating arrangement, generously arrayed with seasonal fruit preserves, warm olives, grilled bread and an assortment of house-made pickles. And Caputo’s house-aged cheddar — a knock-your-socks-off Beehive Promontory cheddar wrapped in butter with the last six months in cave spent aged in duck-fat soaked bandages — even showed up on the Pallet’s cocktail menu. Multiple best-of-Utah award-winning bartender Bijan Ghiai served me a clever rum-based spin on an old fashioned he calls “Ham & Cheese,” stirred up with two kinds of esteemed Hamilton Rum and garnished with the aforementioned insane duck-fat-wrapped aged cheddar. Salty, sweet, slightly bitter perfection, all in one superlative sipper.
Whether enjoying farmstead cheese alongside Randy Ramsley himself at Mesa Farm or served on a stunning cheese board at a chic bistro, there’s a lot of love to go around when Utah cheese is involved.