The Big Cheeses of Westport

Who needs France when we've got such outstanding cheese right in the South Coast?


Shy Brothers Farm in Westport makes delectable cheeses. The hands behind these cheeses are two sets of twins who are, you guessed it, incredibly shy. Since childhood Arthur, Norman, Karl and Kevin Santos have taken tender care of the daily operations of their family dairy farm and have teamed up with Barbara Hanley and Leo Brooks in the art of cheese making. In the process they’ve also saved the family farm, using only their own milk for their cheese production. Small batches, fresh milk from well-cared-for cows and carefully developed recipes make for outstanding cheeses.

The Shy Brothers signature products are Hannahbells – delicate, thimble shaped cheeses in a variety of flavors: classic French, shallot, rosemary and lavender bud. Hannahbells have been circulating around the East Bay for a number of years now with great popularity. But don’t pass on the Shy Brothers curds. Their Cloumage is a fluffy cheese, similar in consistency to fresh ricotta with a distinct tang to it. It’s great with both savory and sweet dishes. Nobody else in the US is making this cheese and word on the street (like the streets of NYC) is that people are getting hooked.

It’s August, though, and in New England that means that tomato season is on. So the seasonal curd pick has got to be the mozzarella for your fresh tomato and basil salad. There is nothing better. Take it as is, creamy and buttery in curd form (many people are loving this) or pull it out yourselves with instructions from the Shy Brothers. Mozzarella curds can be ordered online.

The Santos brothers are shy but their cheeses speak for them. Find them around at Tom’s Market or Milk and Honey Bazaar in Tiverton, on the Persimmon menu in Bristol or at Persimmon Provisions in Barrington.