Red Hawk Cheese: a Bold, Award-Winning Cheese From California

In the domain of artisan cheeses, Red Hawk Cheese stands as a proof of the mastery of Cowgirl Creamery, nestled in the pastoral landscapes of California. This triple cream, washed-rind cheese, acclaimed for its robust flavor profile and organic origins, has not only captivated the palates of connoisseurs but has also clinched prestigious accolades, underscoring its superior quality. Crafted with meticulous attention to detail and a commitment to sustainability, Red Hawk Cheese embodies the essence of its terroir. Exploring its origins, intricate crafting process, and the nuanced flavors that set it apart will reveal the story behind its success and its unique position within the global cheese panorama.

Key Takeaways

  • Red Hawk Cheese is a meticulously crafted, award-winning product from Cowgirl Creamery in California.
  • Its unique flavor profile includes notes of cured meats, roasted peanuts, and ocean brine.
  • The cheese's distinct taste is enhanced by the coastal environment and native bacteria of Point Reyes.
  • Red Hawk pairs well with a variety of wines, beers, and even non-alcoholic beverages like Root Beer.

Origins and Inspiration

Born from an accidental batch of Mt. Tam cheese at Cowgirl Creamery, Red Hawk Cheese is a confirmation to the serendipitous nature of culinary innovation and the rich terroir of coastal Northern California. This cheese, named after the local red-tailed hawk, embodies the essence of West Marin, reflecting the unique environmental conditions and cultural heritage of the region. The coastal proximity of Point Reyes, where Cowgirl Creamery is nestled, plays a pivotal role in the development of Red Hawk Cheese's distinctive characteristics. Scientists from UC Davis pinpointed native bacteria that thrive in this locale, contributing to its bold flavor profile and pungent aromas.

Red Hawk Cheese is not merely a product; it's a confirmation to the area's natural bounty and the creative spirit of its makers. This washed rind triple cream cheese captures the essence of its origins, delivering a flavor that is as complex as the terroir it hails from. Its creation showcases how the interplay between local microflora and the brine used in the cheese-making process can yield a product that is both a tribute to and a reflection of coastal Northern California's rich culinary landscape.

Crafting Process

Understanding the origins and inspiration behind Red Hawk Cheese sets the stage for an exploration of its meticulous crafting process, which is fundamental to its unique flavor profile and quality. Originating from a fortunate error with a batch of Mt. Tam cheese at Cowgirl Creamery, Red Hawk Cheese's creation is as unique as its taste. The crafting process is a proof of the precision and care employed by Cowgirl Creamery, ensuring each wheel of cheese is nothing short of exceptional.

The process includes:

  1. Meticulous Observation: From the creamery windows, every step of the cheese-making process is carefully monitored to maintain the highest standards.
  2. Specific Steps at Precise Timings: The development of Red Hawk's unique flavor profile hinges on executing specific steps at exactly the right times.
  3. Aging Process: Utilizing 6,000 gallons of milk weekly results in 6,000 pounds of cheese, this phase is critical for developing Red Hawk's rich, creamy texture.
  4. Unique Bacteria: The distinct flavor of Red Hawk owes much to the unique bacteria identified by UC Davis scientists in the Point Reyes environment, further enriched by a washed rind technique.

This analytical and descriptive approach to the crafting process emphasizes the dedication to quality and the distinctive character that Cowgirl Creamery's Red Hawk Cheese brings to the table.

Flavor Profile

Red Hawk Cheese's flavor profile is distinguished by a complex and savory blend, featuring nuanced notes of cured meats, roasted peanuts, and ocean brine that contribute to its award-winning character. Originating from the esteemed dairies of Point Reyes Station, California, this cheese is a sign of the rich, culinary heritage of the region. The boldness of its flavor is further accentuated by a pungent funk, a symbol of its meticulously crafted rind, which harmonizes with the triple cream texture derived from high-quality milk. This luxurious texture, combined with its unique taste dimensions, makes Red Hawk Cheese a standout among its peers, earning it prestigious awards, including the 1st place at the International Cheese & Dairy Awards in 2022.

Professionals serving discerning clientele will find Red Hawk's savory richness, underscored by its deep, oceanic brine and the earthiness of cured meats, a versatile addition to gourmet offerings. The cheese's robust profile is a direct reflection of the artisanal methods employed in its production, showcasing the exceptional qualities of its milk and the artisanal care in its aging process. Red Hawk Cheese exemplifies culinary excellence, embodying the essence of California's dairy artisanship and setting a benchmark for triple cream cheeses globally.

Pairing Suggestions

The exceptional flavor profile of Red Hawk cheese finds its perfect complement in a carefully selected range of beverages and accompaniments, enhancing the culinary experience it offers. Crafted from pasteurized cow's milk, this sumptuous triple cream, often referred to as Tam's funky cousin, is aged four weeks, developing a rich and meaty flavor with balanced notes of cured ocean brine behind its striking sunset red-orange rind.

To elevate your culinary endeavors with Red Hawk, consider the following pairing suggestions:

  1. Wines: The complexity of Red Hawk pairs splendidly with the fruit-forward notes of Pinot Noir, the aromatic intensity of Gewurztraminer, and the crisp acidity of Riesling. These wines complement the cheese's depth, enhancing its rich layers.
  2. Beers: Amber to Dark Ales and Barrel-Aged Sours create a flavorful synergy with Red Hawk, where the malt's sweetness and the sour complexity balance the cheese's saltiness and creaminess.
  3. Non-Alcoholic: For a non-traditional twist, Root Beer offers a unique pairing, with its sweet and spicy profile cutting through the cheese's richness.
  4. Accompaniments: Elevate the cheese board with pickles, charcuterie, onion jam, or shallot confit, which all harmonize with Red Hawk's savory essence, making for an unforgettable tasting experience.

Red Hawk captures the essence of its origins, providing a culinary canvas that invites exploration and sophistication in pairing.

Awards and Recognition

Having explored the exemplary pairings that elevate Red Hawk's unique flavor profile, we now turn our attention to its distinguished standing in the culinary world, underscored by its remarkable achievements at international cheese competitions. Crafted from pasteurized cows' milk, Red Hawk Cheese is a proof to the mastery of Cowgirl Creamery. Its rind triple cream, made in the coastal Northern regions, encapsulates a meaty flavor with balanced notes reminiscent of the ocean. This distinctive taste, enriched through a brine solution and the action of wild bacteria, enables Red Hawk to capture the essence of its terroir.

The acclaim Red Hawk Cheese has garnered is not incidental but a reflection of its unparalleled quality. Its victory as the 1st place winner at the International Cheese & Dairy Awards in 2022, followed by securing the 3rd place in the same competition in 2023 and at the World Cheese Awards in 2022, highlights its exceptional standing. These accolades are not merely awards; they are affirmations of the unique, award-winning characteristics of Red Hawk Cheese. The consistent recognition at prestigious competitions underlines the excellence and popularity of Red Hawk among cheese enthusiasts, marking it as a culinary treasure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Makes Red Hawk Cheese?

Red Hawk Cheese is produced by Cowgirl Creamery, a pioneer in the artisan cheese movement, employing sustainable farming practices and unique cheese making methods, including washed rind techniques, to create its distinctive flavor profile.

Who Makes Mt Tam Cheese?

Mt Tam cheese is crafted by Cowgirl Creamery, renowned for its artisan cheese crafting and sustainable farming practices. Utilizing organic milk from local dairies, this cheese embodies a rich history and diverse culinary applications.


In sum, Red Hawk Cheese emerges not merely as a culinary delight but as a testament to the zenith of cheese craftsmanship. Its creation, a symphony of organic ingredients and meticulous aging, yields a flavor profile that dances on the palate, marrying the robustness of cured meats with the delicate brine of the ocean. Its accolades, culminating in an international first-place award, underscore its unparalleled quality. This cheese does not just elevate a meal; it transforms the dining experience into an epicurean odyssey.

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