Cowgirl Creamery is a company located in Point Reyes Station, California, which manufactures artisan cheeses. Founded in 1994, the company manufactures its own cheeses and sells other imported and domestic cheese and fine artisan foods. Its own cheeses include Red Hawk and Mt. Tam (named after Mount Tamalpais). The company operates a storefront in the Ferry Building of San Francisco. Founders Peggy Smith and Sue Conley worked for years in the kitchens of the Bay Area, and Alice Waters' Chez Panisse, where Peggy worked for many years, is among many Bay Area establishments to incorporate cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery into its menu.
Cowgirl Creamery crafts its own cheeses using organic milk from the neighboring Straus Family Creamery, as well as John Tavernas' dairy. Mount Tam, a triple cream cheese similar to Explorateur, and Red Hawk, also a triple cream, washed rind, unctuous cheese, are the more well-known of their aged cheeses, but the company also makes Pierce Point, Saint Pat, Chimney Rock, and Devil's Gulch on a seasonal basis. Only two of their aged cheeses are in a slightly different format: Inverness looks like an aged goat cheese but is actually made with cow's milk, and is only available at Cowgirl's stores due to a short shelf life; Wagon Wheel, which is a semi-firm cheese designed to melt, is made in 25-pound wheels. They very rarely make an unpublicized aged cheese, Sir Francis Drake, which is the same size, shape, and base as the Mount Tam, but is washed in Muscat wine and topped with macerated currants and has a stronger, sweeter flavor.
Their aged cheeses are named after landmarks or other features local to the Marin Headlands. Cowgirl Creamery also makes fresh cheeses: a fromage blanc and a crème fraiche; they used to make a clabberd cottage cheese and Niloufer's Panir (which is named for chef Niloufer Ichaporia King).
The company was started in 1994. In addition to its San Francisco store and Sidekick Cafe, the original creamery in Point Reyes Station includes a store and cantina, and a storefront in the Penn Quarter neighborhood of Washington, D.C. (where founders Sue Conley and Peggy Smith are from) was open from 2006 to 2013.
Cowgirl Creamery was referenced in episode 6.1 of the popular TV sitcom Will & Grace, "Dames at Sea", in the scene where Will is trying to ease the mind of Jack in suspicions of a drunken rendezvous with each other. It has also been mentioned as being a favorite among several notable celebrities.
- Fletcher, Janet (2005-02-24). "Cowgirl Creamery strikes it rich with a triple cream". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-10-14.
- Hall, Christopher (2013-05-29). "5 Stops on a California Cheese Trail". The New York Times.
- Nicholls, Walter (2006-06-21). "Some Old Friends Say 'Cheese'". Washington Post. p. F01. Retrieved 2007-10-14.
- Sidman, Jessica (2013-12-13). "Cowgirl Creamery Closing at the End of the Month". Washington City Paper. Retrieved 2014-10-07.
- "Cowgirl Creamery sold to Swiss dairy company". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2016-05-17.
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