Creole cream cheese
Creole cream cheese is a form of farmer cheese that is traditional in the New Orleans area. It is made from skim milk, buttermilk and rennet and has a mild, slightly tart, slightly sweet taste and is frequently mixed with cream, sugar and fruit and served as a dessert. It is often used to make Creole cream cheese ice cream. In homes it was traditionally eaten for breakfast and served with cream, fruit, or sugar; it can also be served on toast with butter, salt and pepper.
According to Mauthe of Mauthe's Progress Milk Barn, an artisan dairy credited with helping resurrect the dish, Creole cream cheese originated in the 1800s when people of French ancestry. Instead of forming the curds, they are said to have hung the clabber in a mesh bag in a tree and let the whey drain off. Creole cream cheese was served in a bowl and cream was poured over it. Mauthe remembers it being eaten on French bread in some areas and on cornbread in other parts of the Southern United States.
Creole cream cheese's popularity declined during the second half of the 20th century and it became difficult to find. Several dairies in South Louisiana have offered creole cream cheese in the past, including Borden's, Gold Seal and Barbe's. In 1998 it was still available at Dorignac's Food Center on Veterans Boulevard in Metairie. The Gold Seal Creamery that was the last Creole cream cheese factory in New Orleans operated from about 1920 to 1986 and its blond-brick building constructed in 1954 is being converted into loft apartments.
More recently, creole cream cheese has had a resurgence. New Orleans native chef David Guas offers creole cream cheese at his Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery in Arlington, Virginia served with buttermilk biscuits and pepper jelly. The New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) included creole cream cheese as part of its 2012 "Art You Can Eat" demonstrations, with Leah Chase making it. Poppy Tooker has also been credited with helping resurrect the dish. The Encyclopedia of Cajun and Creole Cuisine includes instructions on making the dish at home.
The intensive process required to make creole cream cheese, a yogurt-like and slightly sweet concoction, has made a comeback including with a cheesecake recipe from the Mauthe (pronounced Moh-tay) family of McComb, Mississippi who operate the Progress Milk Barn, nearly destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.
Creole cream cheese ice cream
Creole cream cheese ice cream is also a Louisiana tradition. The USDA cracked down on dairies over concerns about spoilage and added regulations over milk and cheese production, and production has become far more limited. The ice cream flavor was available at K&B drugstores. Other past producer's include Brown's Dairy (formerly Brown's Velvet Dairy) in New Orleans.
John Besh offers a creole cream cheese red velvet ice cream at his Soda Shop in the National World War II Museum. Mam's House of Ice in Houston offers Creole Cream Cheese ice cream. Baskin Robbins offered the flavor in 2011/2012. In April 2013, Blue Bell Creameries re-released the flavor in Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast region. Another version is made by New Orleans Ice Cream Company.
- Tucker, Susan, ed. (2009). New Orleans cuisine: fourteen signature dishes and their histories. Univ. Press of Mississippi.
- Tucker 2009, p. 172.
- "Homemade Creole Cream Cheese". Food Network.
- "Kenny Mauthe". Southern Foodways Alliance.
- Jeffrey P. Roberts (Jun 22, 2007). Atlas of American Artisan Cheese. Chelsea Green Publishing.
- Laborde, Errol (May 1, 1998). "The cream team: Last of the Creole cream cheeses". New Orleans Magazine. (subscription required)
- Rebecca Mowbray Creole cream cheese factory in Mid-City turning into loft apartments April 08, 2011 Updated: Saturday, April 09, 2011 The Times-Picayune
- Susan Langenhennig (May 24, 2012). "New Orleans native and chef David Guas returns home to take the stage at NOWFE". NOLA.com.
- "Art You Can Eat at NOMA". Gambit Weekly, bestofneworleans.com. June 12, 2012.
- accessed 6-24-2012 Mauthe's Milklady Cheesecake Progress, MS Appetite for Life, Southern Hospitality (with Andrew Zimmern)[dead link]
- Rima Collin; Richard Collin (Mar 12, 1987). New Orleans Cookbook. Random House Digital, Inc.
- Steve Garbarino (June 8, 2012). "Throw a Sno-Ball". The Wall Street Journal.
- What’s Going On With Ice Cream? May 24, 2012 Smithsonian.com
- "Louisiana inspired ice cream flavor", April 3, 2013 KATC.com (News 3)
- Beth Colvin, "Englishman finds N.O. flavors for ice cream", The Advocate, April 24, 2013.