Northeazy Cheese by The Lone Grazer Creamery

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

When it comes to food and drink, we are living in auspicious times. The Upper Midwest in general and Minneapolis-St. Paul in particular are finding ways to pipe authentic, locally made, carefully crafted food products into every corner of our day-to-day existence, and The Lone Grazer Creamery, a cheese plant located in Northeast Minneapolis’s Food Building, is a part of that story.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Cheesemaker Rueben Nilsson and his team makes their cheese with milk from grass-fed cows, which gives it a buttery richness across the board. Even Lone Grazer’s string cheese, which represents a much debased and generally bland variety, is full in flavor and worthy of an appearance at a formal occasion.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Lone Grazer, like most young creameries, is busily finding its place in the market and developing its own range of cheeses. Its semisoft washed-rind cheeses (Grazier’s Edge and Hansom Cab) aren’t the norm in our part of the world (where cheddars, mozzarellas, Goudas, and Parmesans tend to rule the roost), but they’re one of the most exciting things going, along with the rise in goat, sheep, and mixed-milk cheeses.

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Lone Grazer’s newest cheese, Northeazy, is based on Tomme de Savoie, a cheese from France and Switzerland, and it manifests its Continental sensibility by boldly brandishing a funky, soulful flavor that makes for fine eating. Tasted side-by-side with the ├╝ber-rich, soft, Grazier’s Edge cheese, Northeazy is firmer and more complex, but both cheeses have a creamy, buttery smoothness.

And thus the potential of the local cheese plate goes up yet another notch. Northeazy is available at local co-ops and fine cheese markets.