The Milk Man Cometh

A new cheese monger brings local artisan cheeses to the Mar Vista Farmers’ Market.

Chris Vamos, president of Milk Man Cheese Services, is the most recent addition to the Sunday , introducing visitors to the wonders of artisan cheeses from reputable companies in California. If you stop by the booth, one fact will be crystal clear in under a minute: Chris knows cheese.    

Vamos is a turophile: a connoisseur of cheese, a cheese fancier, according to Turophile.org.  He speaks of cheese the way sommeliers talk about wine.  He believes that the best cheese in the world is made here in California. “There’s no need to cross a border for excellent cheese.”

He spends his days finding local sources of high-quality cheese for restaurants and chefs, and includes recipe and menu consulting on his list of services. He calls himself “the Indiana Jones of California artisan cheese makers,” finding tiny producers to showcase and help them break into the market in Los Angeles.

Chris is a true local. He grew up in Mar Vista, right across the street from the Farmer’s Market in fact.  So he feels a tremendous sense of pride in being able to bring artisanal cheeses to the Market.

His goal is to feature four artisan cheese makers (read: farmstead companies who milk in the morning and make cheese in the afternoon) to sell each week.  Chris researches the companies personally, and chooses cheese makers whose “personalities shine right through their cheeses.”

On his first day at the Market, he almost sold out of product by 10:00 a.m. Now he knows to bring more. The Milk Man will be regularly offering cheeses from Bohemian Creamery, a Northern California company comprised of two women who sustainably raise their own goats for milk, and use cow’s milk from nearby farms. They use vegetarian rennet to make their cheeses and pride themselves on “honoring the changing rhythms of all the natural processes which influence the taste and body of the cheese.”

On the chopping block during my visit was Romeo, a goat milk Romano or Pecorino style cheese. It had been aged for a year, and is said to be perfect for grating over pasta. Then there was the Cowabunga, a fresh soft ripened cow’s milk cheese with a core of cajeta, a goat’s milk caramel. It’s a dessert cheese that would work wonderfully on any cheese platter after dinner.

The Milk Man is offering a weekly special: buy more than one piece and your second piece is 5% off, your third piece is 10% off and so on.  Vamos sells the cheeses in quarter pound pre-cut packages, so it’s easy to grab and go. 

Find out more about Chris Vamos and Milk Man Cheese Services at milkmanla.com.

Christy Wilhelmi is well known to many local Mar Vistans as The Gardenerd. Her website and blog at www.gardenerd.com offers  information on classes, consulting and food-garden design.

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