Island to Table: World-class cheeses from Long Island Wine Country

by Emily Mancini

Where can you taste some of the finest artisanal cheeses in the world?

You don’t have to purchase a plane ticket to a remote region in France. Catapano Dairy Farm is right off the Long Island Expressway on North Road in Peconic.

(And you can taste their delicious cheeses right here in Patchogue at the July 30 Island to Table outdoor dining experience. Scroll down for tickets.)

Michael Catapano, M.D., and his wife Karen, a nurse, met at Southampton Hospital in the late 1990s.

While they both enjoyed working in the medical field, the abundant farmland in eastern Long Island was calling them. The Catapanos bought their first farm in 2003, a small plot with 25 to 30 goats.

What started as a hobby soon turned into a passion.

Over the course of several years, Michael Catapano dedicated his free time to studying the delicate art of cheesemaking. His fresh chevre, or goat cheese, is a four-time winner of the American Cheese Society’s worldwide competition, and a favorite among local chefs.

Catapano Dairy Farm now has around 85 goats, all milkers. Their artisanal cheese selections range from classic chevre to goat milk yogurt, feta, ricotta, and fudge.

Cheese enthusiasts rave about Catapano’s award-winning sheep’s milk cheeses, which are rich, smooth, and indulgent.

Michael sources the sheep’s milk from his brother’s farm in Southold.

The six-course Island to Table dinner will feature a variety of Catapano cheeses. Chef Jason Tepper will be preparing an appetizer of fresh figs stuffed with citrus-infused chevre wrapped in prosciutto. Chef Bernie Menendez will also be using Catapano’s herbed goat cheese in his tempura-fried zucchini blossom appetizer.

Chef Richard Kanowsky’s wild mushroom ravioli entree will feature Catapano’s fresh whole milk ricotta. Chef Terri Novak is preparing an appetizer of wild lion’s mane mushroom ragu with Catapano herbed ricotta.

The Catapano Dairy Farm is open to the public 10am to 5pm daily, May through November.

Tours of the farm are available by appointment, which are limited to a minimum of 10 people and cost $10 per person. The fee includes an hour-long tour of the farm, an interactive milking demonstration, a personalized cheese sampling, and a guest bar of goat milk soap.

Visit the Catapano Dairy website or call 631-765-8042 for more information.

Tickets for Island to Table are $150 per person.


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Island to Table : The Homepage

Photo: Catapano Dairy Farm on Facebook