BATHED IN VICTORY

Bathed in Victory from The Farm at Doe Run (Coatesville, PA) – raw cow’s milk washed in Victory Brewing Co. Storm King Imperial Stout aged 2-3 months

Always a fan of beer-washed raw milk cheeses (give me the robiola, give me the Winnimere), I was thrilled to see this at the market the other day. Unwrapping my cheese, I decided the beer-washed exterior to be of “bandaid” or “Jennie-o turkey loaf” brown. No pungencies or threats were wafting my way when I brought it to my nose – a surprisingly contained cheese, despite the raw milk and washing. I admired the firm pâte as I cut through the cheese, and enjoyed the wonderful hay color that darkened and opacified closer to the rind. FINALLY tasting the BiV, I noticed first a bright, clean, vegetal taste followed by a lasting subtle, round bitterness and suggestion of pineapple. All in all an unassuming and well-balanced product, a meatier alternative to any young, pressed alpine cheeses. 

Blue my mind ~~~

Per living the best life, I bought a lot of cheese last weekend during a trip to Philadelphia. Inside Reading Terminal Market at the Fair Farm Foodstand, I tried a smattering of Pennsylvania/Virginia cheeses and was duly impressed by the Birchrun Blue from Birchrun Hills Farm in Chester Springs, PA. This blue is a raw cow milk product with a natural rind, aged for ~3 months (at least when I had bought it). Because it isn’t foil covered or wrapped in any form of leaves, it develops a drier, milder rind and pate than other mold-treated cheeses – brings to mind other tomme-style cheeses with all their rugged exteriors. I also appreciated the mottling of the colors from crème anglaise to a bright creamy cloud white. Le voilà:

After letting my slice breathe ~adequately~ , I wafted an aroma procession of chocolate and fresh baked biscuits?? The doughy surprise smell was a treat, and my favorite thing about savoring cheese is when you can taste or detect flavors from decidedly non-cheese food products.

Anyway then I actually started the eating portion. The rind itself was nicely vegetal and bitter, verging on enjoyably chalky with toasty notes. Closer to the exterior of the cheese, the curds were a firm and more crumbly that the interior. Working my way into the center of the slice, the flavors became sweeter and milder – vanilla, cream, hint of ammonia. At this point, I was thinking that I could have confused this with a young bloomy rind cheese for the mildness and texture. Aerating the cheese with big slurpy breaths, I savored a salted, brothy flavor that had previously gone undetected. I think that the Birchrun had a little more structure and firmness than I usually prefer in a blue, but truly a *quaffable* , intriguing natural blue in any case. Would eat again very enthusiastically and with gusto!     

Chèvrandoah

Day tripping amongst some rolling Shenandoah hills several weeks ago, I stopped at Castle Hill Cider for what was to be a quick cider of the month pickup - 9 tastings later, I sat down to a bottle of delicious, bone-dry still cider and cheese plate accompaniment. Needless to say, I was *well primed* to gustatorily approach a novel cheese experience. Our plate came with two cheeses, and I'll bloviate here about the cloud on the left, the Caromont Farmstead Chevre.

A veritable pillow of time, living cultures, and goat's milk, the Caromont spread around my mouth with an arrestingly homogenous mouthfeel - I am reminded of the joy that comes from that sublime first bite of homemade ricotta. The chevre only sits overnight during production, so apart from making cheese in your kitchen, this is one of the closest expressions of processed dairy one can be lucky enough to interact with. Aerating and smacking my lips, I was treated to a procession (symphony??) of subtle and disparate tastes: creamy pine nut, bright neufchatel, lactic violet tang, and salted butter. All that was left after the dissipation of this sinusoid expression of flavor was a clean palate, ready for MORE CIDER AND MORE CHEVRE!

The Gastronomical Me / Mystery Cheese

I spent the weekend in Wenatchee about a month ago, and made a stop in the Pike Place-modeled Pybus Marketplace that opened several years ago. It’s a great open air space that has been so prevalent on the East Coast and in the Midwest, and is now spreading outside of Pike Place and the Ferry Building Marketplace.

I was obvs so enthused to see a new location for the Cheesemonger’s Shop that has been in Leavenworth since I started visiting in the late 90s (??!!) We did some tastings, including a very nicely handled Délice de Bourgogne, and decided on a local chevre with an ash center. I’ve done literal hours of research, but I can’t seem to find the actual name of the cheese. Regardless, it was tasty and intriguing, so I write.

The cheesemonger told me it was usually aged for 2 weeks, but they had had this round for another 2 weeks, so it had continued to age a little. Holding it, I noticed that it had a sort of curd-esque resilience (hinting at its youth). The ash and some mold development added an interesting complexity to what would have been earlier a clearer dairy flavor, but instead it savoured as an acrid, malty, soy-laced piece of taste. I really enjoyed the bitterness of the ash and the smoked meatiness that bloomed. The goat flavor, alongside the bitter-savory interplay, provided a head tilting experience that’s like everything I search for in the aged dairy products I come across. Like what’s the point of eating cheese if it doesn’t taste like death a little?

Brooklyn x Cabricharme x Coffee =

Stepping in to the Bedford Cheese Shop off of Irving Place in Gramercy, one is immediately over[joyed/whelmed] at the expanse of cheese counter presiding in the back of the store. The wisest, oldest cheeses hang out above the counter, looking down with a benevolent, distanced crumble of a gaze. I asked to try something cabecou-esque, or something of tangy velvet and grassy citrus; the cheesemonger sent me on a course of 4 or 5 tastes ranging from Montgomery’s to Charmoix, where I eventually settled on the Cabri Café – a bold updo of the traditional Cabricharme (that has previously been ogled about here). 

This raw goat’s milk cheese from Ardennes has a sharp, creamy nose and a wonderful, ivory pate. The twist here is that coffee grounds have been coated over the surface of the cheese, and the Cabri Café ~presents~ with a dark, richly textured rind contrast with the homogenous expanse of snow white that is the interior.

And as for savouring the cheese – one begins to understand all the complexity of the world predicated on the interplay between coffee-d rind, raw goat milk, and loving tender affinage. There are lofty notes of toastiness and savory legume, whisked along by a procession of fungal worcestshire and malty, fish-ed umami (think crispy mushrooms straddling rashers in a full English breakfast that got a LOT doused in the butter that melted off the side plate of kippers). The sweet acidity and savory caramel get physical when my palate sulci begin to tingle a little bit. All things said, Cabri Café serves up some complex realness, a euphonious amalgam of transient tastes anchored by respectfully treated milk solids and lactic gracefulness. 

Cheddar's chef d'oeuvre

We stopped by Righteous Cheese last night at Union Market here in DC, and ogled at their ~finely~ curated selection with products from both coasts and most of Europe. After picking out some Shakerag Blue (and learning that Valdeón is no longer being exported to the US with its sycamore wrapping!), Remeker, and an exciting Pico Melero, the splurge ended with a quarter pound of Montgomery's Cheddar from Manor Farm in the UK. The photos that I've seen online are all good and well and not the most edgy looking, but my wedge has beautiful blue veins running throughout: due to the size of the wheels (up to 60 pounds of pure curd) and the raw milk of Montgomery's cheddar, the affinage results in wheels with a huge variability in taste profile and appearance. Hence:   

In real life and not iPhone photos, the wedge has a stunning color gradient going from light walnut at the rind to a more creamy flaxen in the center. It took me a good 2 minutes to actually get the cheese in my mouth because I had to admire the threatening flakiness and heterogeneity on the surface of my wedge. But when I did - I am still stunned that I was able to save any of it for the holiday party that it was destined to attend in the first place. Immediately, the cheese crumbled into a complex, savory musk that melted into this sort of rapidly developing flavor procession: chilled fiddlehead ferns to dark chocolate to "vegetal" to paint fumes to roasted meat to bitter dandelion milk to fried chicken skin, culminating in a triumphant tang and brightness and finally, incredible saltiness. Even better, the bits of rind I saved to nibble on had just a hint of ammonia and transported my papillae to the experience of a tenderly cared for bloomy rind cheese - delightfully pie doughy, nutty, and fungal. As hyperbolic as this all sounds, I kid not - each time I moved the cheese around in my mouth, another flavor dimension emerged and the gustatory poetry continued. I am reminded of eating 36 month Comté in Paris or vieux Cantal, but this time it was Somerset that did the trick. Montomgery's Cheddar, ladies and gentlemen. 

Cana de Oveja, sheep stuff from Spain

Now that I have a job with tips, I have naturally had to find new ways of getting rid of my liquid income as fast as possible. One of these ways is - you guessed it - concocting luxurious afternoon snacks with single origin local roasts, olives of all types, stupidly expensive mignardises, alcohols of bracing and complex natures, and all the cheese I could/do want. I've been aware of Cana de Oveja for a while now (production started in the mid-2000's by Lorenzo Abellan in Murcia, Spain), but only just now tried it out for myself. The CdO is a bloomy sheep's milk product, aged 3-4 weeks before being shipped off to an eager, global clientele. It's made in the style of a bûcheron, those lovely chèvre logs from France. 

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I think my wedge was a little underripe - the pâte immediately next to the rind was almost gooey, but not quite. I've put aside half of the wedge to let it sit for a couple days and see what happens. Otherwise, the center of the CdO is thickly silky and dry: it glommed all over my mouth, (almost) like if you bite down on a Jolly Rancher between your teeth and all of a sudden your jaw is stuck. The interior is tangy, a little gamey (from the sheep milk), and develops into a clean, musky profile. If the taste of flour is an admissible descriptor, I'll use that as well to characterize the clean, dry mouthfeel and taste. The pâte near the rind has definite fungal, mossy notes as well. I'm excited to see what happens in a couple of days with some age! I was also reminded of the bone dry Quail Croft crottin that I wrote about a couple years ago - similar dense, flaky qualities that you (or maybe just me) don't find too much in other soft-ripened bloomy cheeses. 

(Red) Rum Runner

At the behest of a friend who works behind the cheese counter at Whole Foods, I picked up a wedge of Sartori's Rum Runner BellaVitano, a rum-soaked cow's milk cheese from Wisconsin. Reminiscent of a funkier cheddar/pecorino/emmental, the Rum Runner is really wow factor with the barest hints of crystallization within the cheese - that, along with the nuanced flavors, tells me the folks at Sartori take care with their affinage (also they win like all the awards at World Cheese everything.) 

Beautiful, wise, crumbly, crystalline

Beautiful, wise, crumbly, crystalline

SO REGAL

SO REGAL

When I jumped into the eating part, my grandmother and sister and I all felt like we tasted a glazed doughnut somehow - I think it came from the natural dairy sugar, high fat content, and also the fact that the rum used in the process is flavored like a Heath bar; so toffee and a darker sweetness are pretty apparent. Other than that, one can detect some pineapple, lingering nuttiness, and a little salty meatiness that you would find in a farmstead or mountain cheese. BUT THE CRYSTALS too, don't forget about the crystals. I would get gourmet with this cheese by pairing it with a meaty Côtes du Rhone blend or even a peppery Chinon. Santé! Also you can only find this cheese at Whole Foods, but my wedge was only $4.80 and definitely worth it. 

Looorelei

Amateurs of fine goat milk products, direct your attention towards Briar Rose Creamery in the bucolic locale of Dundee, Oregon. Their Lorelei, a stout-washed rind goat milk cheese with a beautiful affinage of 6 weeks, is a mouthful of cream, maltiness, and some fungal bitter at the end. I'm not sure where this cheese particularly is sold outside of the creamery, but I *exhort* anyone and everyone to spend a day amongst the creameries and wineries of the rolling red clay hills. Courtesy of the dark chocolate chèvre truffles that I picked up at Briar Rose as well, you see some brown choco powder on the edge of the Lorelei. Miam miam.

Casatica di Bufala: waow

I needed to make a tartiflette last weekend and didn't have the resources to track down a Reblochon in Portland, so I decided to go rogue and look for some other way to impart that nutty, beneficent Savoyarde taste. I was looking for some other sweet and soft washed-rind cheese that would melt into my potatoes and lardons, and I thought that it wouldn't hurt to throw on a triple-creme as well. I decided on the Casatica di Bufala, a water buffalo milk cheese that's a little younger than Reblochon, aged for 3-4 weeks instead of 6-8. I picked the triple creme (Saint-Andre from France) to add some of the pungency and runniness that the younger Casatica wouldn't have developed yet. Here's a ridiculously large photo so you can imagine how some thin slices may have melted down alluringly to the nether-regions of the tartiflette:

The power went out but I still needed to eat my cheese, so here we have the Casatica by candlelight & flash. 

The power went out but I still needed to eat my cheese, so here we have the Casatica by candlelight & flash. 

Because the Casatica is from water buffalo milk, it's sweet - it reminded me of honey, or even creamed honey. The cheese was soft but firm as it warmed up; still too young to be oozing. Towards the exterior the pâte became looser and more fungal; definitely some heady flavors developing there. I felt it to be very velvety with an appetizing bloomy rind. Next time you crave some Mozzarella di Bufala, think of trying it with the Casatica di Bufala (or just get the Casatica instead) and you'll be able to see how the aging process brings out the rich, sweet flavor of the water buffalo milk that is also seen in the fresh mozzarella. 

Razor-edged farmhouse cheddar

I've been on a bit of a Jacobs Creamery kick lately and absolutely 10/10 100% my daily cheese consumption hasn't been so on the reg since I realized I was lactose intolerant. The best part of having dank gouda, dank cheddar, dank butter, dank hard cheeses is that my grilled cheese/mornay sauce game has been ON POINT and all that is different is handcrafted cheese vs. Tillamook blocks (not to knock down the T-mook whatsoever). Like the title suggests, this latest cheese from Jacobs is so sharp it pierces. So sharp it changes the rules of what cheddar is allowed to do. So sharp that when you buy it you'll have to prepare yourself for what could be the most inconspicuously dressed paragon of piquant that you've seen since Rogue Creamery started up business. Le voilà, Jacobs Creamery farmhouse cheddar: 

Dangerously yielding, piquantly sharp, sweetly wizened dairy, the occasional tyrosine crystal. This is a cheddar with one overpowering id that would raise finely plucked eyebrows at a respectable soirée when mistaken for a "white" cheddar (which is also not a real thing and the worst American misnomer that could ever be). 

Bloomy n Fresh AF

Behold Monday afternoons, or the time of the week where it could still be Sunday for all you've done today but alternately Thursday night because of the effort you've exerted in simply EXISTING. Behold Monday afternoon trips to Green Zebra for a cheese pick-me-up, or the best kind there is. Behold Bloomy, an aptly-named bloomy rind cheese from nearby Doty/Chehalis, WA. Behold the aged dairy that is:

E$$$pensive wheels of Bloomy

E$$$pensive wheels of Bloomy

I let the cheese acclimate for about 25 minutes, thinking that I would start to see some oozing - FALSE! The Bloomy is pretty solid, reminiscent of monterey jack's edgier and riskier older female cousin. The rind had a nice firm break to it, and was thin enough to not overwhelm with any mopey rind problems. I got a nice tart dairy taste at the front, followed by a rich, quick butter and ending with some cloudy fungal notes. I ate my Bloomy slices with some sesame-tarragon crackers and chunks of soppressata and from these experiences I deem the Bloomy a solid addition to a holiday or party cheese plate. Bloomy will be the cheese that entices your friends of the lamer variety that cheese as a product is nothing to be scared of. On a side note, I do wish that this could be produced with non-pasteurised milk but that complaint is 1) ubiquitous and 2) like asking the rain to stop being wet (in the US at least). 

And just a bit of St. Pat

Obvs butter is great, but also it's not okay to just eat it. So god bless St. Pat from Cowgirl Creamery, because le voilà one can eat butter with a little something extra. Take a peek:

The St. Pat is a pasteurized cow's milk cheese with a bloomy rind that has been wrapped in stinging nettle leaves. At first taste there are strong, clear tastes of cream and sweet pasteurized dairy. This blended into something more edgy, like somewhat the bitterness of leafy greens with a real mellow musky nuttiness. I felt some ammonia up in my nose as a kick at the end, but I had also just unwrapped my pat of st. pat's so it could have stood to chill out for a little longer. I enjoyed the rind as well because there was a surprisingly pleasant sponginess that I imagine resulted from the leaf dressing.

Valentine's in April

When one finds oneself in New Seasons with no shopping list but definite calories needed, it only makes sense to base all purchasing on the cheese selection. I had quite the oscillating difficult time deciding between the several of the cheeses from Ancient Heritage Dairy nearby in Madras, Oregon, but eventually chose the Valentine. The man behind the cheese bar said the Adelle at this time of year was funkier, but the Valentine was RARER and in like perfect conditions so hence swooped that up. Check it aaout:

Sheepy goodness waiting to show itself to the world

Sheepy goodness waiting to show itself to the world

Sheep goodness showing itself to the world

Sheep goodness showing itself to the world

The first thing I noticed about this bloomy rind sheep's milk cheese was the earthy, cool, ammonia emanating from it. Upon cutting into the valentine, there was massive drip pooling out of my slice. Like someone put vanilla pudding in between the rind (which was almost raw pie crust-like in savour and texture) and the interior pâte (which was just past the point of velvety crumble). I tasted some hints of fungal notes but mostly a deep, satisfying cream. The cream running out of the cheese was a little saltier and faintly acrid and a little perplexing. It's always so exciting when someone can make a soft product with sheep's milk, and I wish more farms dared to venture in that direction. When you get those little indications of the lanolin musk that is so evident in aged sheep's milk cheese, it's really thrilling to let your taste buds explore milk in all of its forms.

Yes to Blu and Bloom(y)

This weekend the taste buds stumbled hard all over the place, ending up fortuitously in figurative Italy and figurative Vermont. TL;DR cheese from all the places was eaten! I stopped by Foster & Dobbs in Portland and spent a vunderful 30 minutes sampling cheese and charcuterie and working real hard to not drop the entire paycheck. The first selection of the evening was the long-awaited Moses Sleeper from Jasper Hill, here portrayed in all its macro glory. Note the divinity that is a mossy, yielding, ivory bloomy rind. Also the little midsection paunch that demonstrates the dynamism of cheese acclimating to room temperature.

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Taking a chunk out of this is exposing your mouth to buttery globs of smooth elastic velvet. Pure, refined cream and calm, bright notes of sweet dairy and veggie. The favorite part surprised my mouth, as in the gustatory experience several seconds post-eating was marked by umami and mild mild hints of mushroom fungal flavor. Like so thrilling and so sneaky! Thank you Vermont, thank you Jasper Hill, thank you dairy cows.

Round two though, stuff gets real here. I asked the very helpful Foster & Dobbs cheese worker for a cheese that could confound and bewonder, which is usually the type of request that will get me stares and hesistant "Uhh what" type of responses at most cheese counters. In any case F&D cheese man pulled out this Blu di Bufala, a blue from Italy with serious zzzzzing. Made from water buffalo milk and aged 2-3 months to a delicious point of volatility, Blu di Bufala could be dessert.

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So much is right about this wedge; so much serious harmony in this product. The croûte pulls out all the stops, namely dense garlicky savour and tasteable lasagne sensibilities. The meatiness that exists here is uncanny/not safe for vegetarians. As you work your way down to the buttery, high-fat interior, the strong exterior transitions to a tangy violet roasted vegetable-something profile and a texture/consistency not dissimilar from a fine foie gras. The blueness is noticeable throughout, and serves as a constant high/low note that gives definition to the other outstanding characteristics. Absolutely decadent and absolutely perplexing, also floral notes aplenty. We dined on spiced coppa and fennel salumi and were satisfied and sated before our bellies were even full, which means we were gourmets and not gourmands. The cheese dream lives on!

Pavé de Splurgeable I mean Herve

A big challenge is finding new washed rind cheeses to love and dote on. I went to le store with the firm intention of finally dropping $13-15 on a Cow Girl Creamery Red Hawk, and to my disappointed constern, New Seasons had none??? K so I moved on and got this other fun chunk, pavé de Herve from Belgium.

                                                                                            Pillowy, threatening Pavé

                                                                                            Pillowy, threatening Pavé

PdH has a moist, granular rind that was probably washed in something like a local wine or brandy because that rind reeks of old sweat and acrid fungals. The interior, smooth bordering on yieldy rubber, shows some high notes of salty butter and savory asparagus. Something fun about the pavé is that even though its funky and offensive, it winds itself down by the time you've nommed on some cheese and bread and you're left with mild mossy vegetation taste and slow-cooked meat hints. All in all, I think this mature pavé could be compared to a grumpy old coot who maybe drinks to much bourbon but on the inside is just a genial hunk o' butter. And what do we all like to eat BUTTER

I found you, miss new Gouda

Number one exhortation is that all the people should experience Melrose Market in Seattle because hip wood structures, communal open spaces, beautiful people with beards and flannels, and wine bar upon cheese shop upon artisanal butcher upon locally sourced coffee upon gourmet sandwiches. We stumbled upon MM while looking for Seattle's very own Calf & Kid (maybe a connection to Kath & Kim le show maybe I'm not sure maybe?), a new cheese shop with some serious selection. Here's cheese number one selection from C&K:

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Hunk o' l"Amuse Gouda

Hunk o' l"Amuse Gouda

This gouda was the oldest cheese that C&K carries: two whole years of wisdom, oxidation, and flavor dev. Cutting into the wedge was a thing of beauty and pleasure, what with mature yellow crumbles and vibrant burnt tangerine tidbits showering all over the cheese board. I was eating this gouda with two other friends so we did a cheese cheer and nommed on the littlest of initial morsels together. I found a sharp nuttiness and bright violet-tasting flavor, and moooofing the cheese around my mouth resulted in a fine pâte and ever so often a salty smoky crystal that would rise up and exclaim "I AM 24 MONTHS OLD" which is a thing I love to hear communicated by cheese. Then I got adventurous and just put a little nib on the tip of my tongue and let it melt away to nothing but salt and protein and velvet smooth acidity. Even more exciting was the cheesz just touching the rind that somehow inexplicably but so welcomingly evoked the transient image/sensation whatnot of eating whole wheat Chex cereal with whole milk over a compost bin with only onions inside. Glorious golden crumbles below:

Miss new gouda crumbles

Miss new gouda crumbles

The conclusion of cheese course was a local goat's milk cheese camembert. Hence:

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Nonna Capra pillowy pure camembert-style unhhh

Nonna Capra pillowy pure camembert-style unhhh

So obvs there's a gooze ooze oozing from the middle of our 1/2 camembert, which had one of the ivoriest pâtes that these eyes have ever seen. Salty creamed clouds with a hint of barnyard and pure dairy transformation is this savory stalwart. Most appreciated was the distinct lack of cauliflower funk that is entirely appropriate and acceptable in the Normandiest of camemberts but a flavor that I myself do not enjoy putting my mouth around. This guy would make a killing with a peppery, blackberry Syrah or a dry-like Riesling (I blieve that can exist) or oatmeal stout even possibly. Crowd pleaser and sophisticated to the end.

Some England some Vermont some Wallace and Gromit

Christmas festivities came and went with the nicest of little cheese hints, despite my personal lack of cheese insertion into the proceedings. Memere, who has liquid cash to burn, is quite a fan of catalog ordering hence she's one of those ladies hence she bought a wheel of Vermont Cheddar from the Vermont Country Store and we nommed on little bitties with our desert wine on Christmas Eve. HENCE: 

Vermont cheddar in a crumbly slice form

Vermont cheddar in a crumbly slice form

the Vermont ched has a wonderful buttery color and shows a young wisdom with the hints of transparent flakin. At first bite there is a round, mellow flavor like a sine curve with the most genial of amplitudes and laziest of frequencies. The end note is a little veggie stir fry-soy umami funk. This VC would be be great for Mac and cheese or an updated cheese tuile. 

So serendipitous was the chance meeting of 87-year old Pauline, a friend of a family friend with a fancy for Wensleydale visiting from Leicestershire in the U. I said "plz Pauline buy me good cheez u like" and she brought back 2 stalwarts from Ford Farms that really highlight the unique cheesemaking tradition in England. Wensleydale, apart from being a crowd pleaser all over the world, is the preferred cheese of Wallace (from the almost eponymous Wallace + Gromit). When the W+G feature film was released in 2005, Wensleydale cheese sales increased by 23%! Here's a peek at the regular Wensleydale that I nibbed first: 

That velvety tangy wensleydale thang  

That velvety tangy wensleydale thang
 

It was crumbly supple and a little granular when I mashed it round, and reminded me of a fresh chèvre in the warm consistency and dairy tang. I blieve the Wensleydale cows have a higher fat content in their milk, and that extra fat/protein content was like ver apparent in the richness. noted a strong high note of sharp, bitterish cream along with the dairy musk. The along came Wensleydale v.2, this iteration mixed with honey and fig:

That sweet crunchy wensleydale thang

That sweet crunchy wensleydale thang

The presence of the honey and figs lent itself très nicely to the dairy haze and flavors of malt and sweet cream were paired with the tangy, glutamic savour. The surprise fig seed crunch added an addictive je ne sais quoi to the noms. After a couple bites I realized the certain sweet/savory profile of this Wensleydale was analogous to that of honey-blended Greek yogurt and that made me search even more in the cheese for unexpected flavor analogies, which is the best thing that cheese can do for you! Uncovering food hints and flavors in cheese is a showcase of the zany and sometimes inappropriate variety of cheese yes plz

Tuesdays with Memere

Tuesday afternoon was a dream come true in the sense of free pinot noir, time with spitfire Mémère, and cheeses to be savoured and salivated over. Our Tuesday cheese came from Delaurenti, a fine purveyor of victuals where I badgered the cheese counter workers to deliver cheeses "funky and sparkly acidic like an aged Cantal" and "cakey brilliant ooze in the vein of a young cabécou." I might have just been spouting dairy adjectives out of my mouth but in the end it yielded two stalwart cheeses, even if grumpy Filch-looking cheese attendant refused to make eye contact after I asked about a wise old Alpine-style cheese funk. Anyway, peu importe, cheese no. 1 (almost as iconic as chanel no. 5): CABRICHARME

Cabricharme more like woo-woo taste bud alarm

Cabricharme more like woo-woo taste bud alarm

Apparent from the start is a beautiful thickly opaque white pâte and a crumbly granular rind that tastes like the nephew of old tennis shoe musk and dairy salt. The texture threatened to be spreadable, but kept its protein structure together like a champ. The interior had an immediate sweetness and smokiness, like an afterthought of the taste of a smoky alfredo sauce rather than the actual flavor. I could even imagine the flavor profile of an apple chicken sausage in the Cabricharme, what with the round sweetness and meaty velour of the high note. I found it yielded to a soft funk akin to the rind's tennis shoe dank, but still presenting the calm and welcoming creamy sweet savour. This is the second time that I've had Cabricharme, and I was all the more happy to pound it down.

K so then cheese no. 2: Cazelle de Saint Afrique

Cazelle cazelle cazelle fo shizzelle  

Cazelle cazelle cazelle fo shizzelle
 

This beautifully wrinkle-ridden little iddle hunk wrapped itself in a croûte of almost raw pie dough - dense, consistent, salty, buttery, welcoming, comforting, and just a little wild. But let's take a closer look at the inside of this wild card:

Let the cheese run down and wake my dreamz

Let the cheese run down and wake my dreamz

The three most important aspects of this Cazelle, to yours truly, include the dry, light, snowflake interior (just visible in the middle), the lighter fjords of velvety, yielding aged sheep's milk, and finally the gushing, runny salty funk cream coming forth. Flavor flavor flavor. The most middle parts of the cazelle brought a high note of salty tang developing into a bittered cream. Moving to the runny exteriorish parts, I found some salt, some nuttiness, and finally a comprehensvie asparagus note. Altogether one exciting cheese because how often do you find fjords of velvet protein, asparagus, and nutty salt funk cream? Totally a rhetorical question.

Tomme crayyyyeuse

End of exams + quebecoise grandmother with 20% cheese coupon + no plans on a Saturday morning = hit up dat local grocer and see what funky goods he's slingin! We  stumbled upon this exciting and relatively new addition to the cheese world, TOMME CRAYEUSE! 

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You see a marvelous granited croûte with all sorts of ochre-charcoal-egg yolk yellow-foggy white and that says to me "dang that cheese had some adventures while it was affiner-ing!" Crayeuse means chalky, and ideally the interior pâte has a dryer, more crumbly consistency than the exterior and croûte, but ours was relatively just creamy and runny so I hazard a guess that poor Tomme was waiting in the cheese case for a couple of days before we stumbled upon it. Not a big deal because we still got tastes of damp earth, salty cream, wisdom and age. Paired with a 2010 duck pond Pinot noir, lil' Tomme went down like a dream!