(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.