It was back in April that the Underground Gourmet had the first word on the Crown Finish Caves, those voluminous old lagering tunnels beneath a former Bergen Street brewery that have been converted into facilities for holding some 22,000 units of wash-rind and blue-veined cheese, and now its first wheels are out. Anne Saxelby, who was most recently seen selling very high-end butter in otherwise unremarkable Ziploc bags, carries Parish Hill Creamery’s Vermont Herdsman, as well as a raw cow’s-milk gorgonzola that sits in the caves anywhere from three to six months. In terms of a larger roll-out, so to speak, Whole Foods now sells Crown Dutchess, which aged for more than two months in the subterranean tunnels.
Crown Dutchess is a washed-rind cheese made with raw cow’s milk from the 350-acre Chaseholm Farm Creamery, located 100 miles away in its namesake county. The beige-coral rind has a subtle funk and slight mineral tang, and the paste is beefy without being too overpowering or creamy. It is available at each of Whole Foods’s eight locations in the city, at $6.25 per quarter-pound. Jokes about artisanal Brooklyn aside, the plan to bring in fresh cheese from upstate farms and beyond to mature in the naturally climate-controlled space is one of the best things to happen to the borough’s food scene yet, and Crown Dutchess is a sign of great things to come. Its Brooklyn accent may be affected, in other words, but it is certainly convincing.