North Bay Alps

Nicasio Valley Cheese Company's Old World inspiration

It only takes 40 years for a milk-spawned dream to come true.

So a few months ago, after four decades of consideration, a multigenerational family in the Marin hamlet of Nicasio (prounced nih-CASH-yo) launched the Nicasio Valley Cheese Company.

The LaFranchi family's handiwork is modeled after the cheese of their ancestral home in Maggia, Switzerland. After traveling there, the LaFranchis returned with a local cheesemaker, Maurizio Lorenzetti.

In February, Lorenzetti helped the family produce four cheeses, using only Holstein milk from the family's property in Nicasio.

Foggy Mountain is a fresh cheeseā€“a ringer for fromage blanc. Formagella, with some of the ooze of a Camembert, is dubbed after a similar cheese from the Swiss region of Ticino. The sole cheese not an homage to the homeland is Nicasio Square, a mildly funky cousin of Taleggio.

Already, Nicasio Valley's cheeses have landed at Cheese Plus, Rainbow Grocery, both locations of The Pasta Shop, and a variety of Marin and Sonoma independent grocers and a few local Whole Foods.

When dreams become reality, the word spreads quickly.

Also available at local farmers' markets and the company's retail store, 5300 Nicasio Valley Rd., Nicasio; 415-662-6200; open Thu. through Sun., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.