Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Cheese plate update

I'm trying this "occasional blogging about cheese" thing out because frankly, I love cheese. I think I eat more cheese than anyone else I know, which might very well be saying something.

I'm not an expert, just a REALLY REALLY REALLY enthusiastic amateur.

Wallace And Gromit know where it's at
Ironically, I'm also lactose intolerant. Thankfully my supply of Lactase enzyme is usually prodigious enough to keep up with my adventurous palate, though there was that time I had Lactaid overnighted to my hotel at Disney because I didn't pack enough and they apparently don't sell it on site?!?

Anyway, it's one of my great loves and I'm sharing it because this is my blog and that's my life!

I'm going to try to make this a semi regular round-up post though I'm not sure what kind of time frame I will leave between posts.

I bought some cheese for myself to have a nice snack for my holiday week staycation. Then I got an ASTOUNDING amount of cheese from my In-Laws for Christmas (left side of the pic above was my fridge on Christmas night).THEN I got a C'est Cheese Cheese of the month club subscription from my Husband for my birthday the week after (right side of the pic above was January's picks)  so there's a bit more than usual to talk about right at this moment! Due to the sheer volume of cheese I ended up eating a lot of the fresher cheeses first and leaving the aged cheeses for later.

I'm not really going to talk about what I use as a vehicle for the cheese because honestly I eat it with what I have around. If I happen to use something interesting I'll mention it.

After the jump I'm going to start off with some particularly notable ones I've had in the last several weeks and fill in the gaps from there in future posts.

Cabecou Feuille  (goat's milk)
(from http://cheese-notes.blogspot.com) fresh dollops of Perigord goat cheese dipped in plum Armagnac, sprinkled with a little black pepper and wrapped in a couple of chestnut leaves. At first bite there is a slight kick from the Armagnac, then a smooth, soft finish from the goat cheese. 

This was part of a whole cheese/wine basket gift from my Sister in Law which she bought at Gypsy Kitchen in MA. This was super tangy and creamy and not too goaty at all. It was quite nice with a drizzle of honey. What a fun presentation!
The smell had me unsure at first as the leaves had a strong almost sour vegetal scent and I expected the cheese to have the same flavor but it didn't at all. The pepper and brandy each added a slightly different touch of bite but nothing overwhelming. I went sweet with accompaniment because that's what I had on hand but it occurred to me later that this would go great with something roast beef-ish too as the sourness reminds me of horseradish a bit (though obviously not the bite).

I had received two of the leaf wrapped packets of this cheese and had the second round about a week after the one I photographed above and skipped on the honey the second time. It was a touch more sour and I think it took on some of the chestnut flavor from the leaves.

Ricotta Salata (sheep's milk)
(from cheese.com)  Ricotta Salata is an Italian cheese made from the whey part of sheep milk, which is pressed, salted and aged for at least 90 days. It is milky white in colour with firm texture and salty taste. The cheese is often used in salads and ideal for slicing, crumbling and grating.

This was part of the cheese/wine basket I got from my Mother and Father in Law. I could eat this all day long. In fact I had to stop myself from eating the entire wedge in one sitting. It has a fantastic dry chewy texture and a strong definitively milky (maybe a bit grassy?) taste without being sweet.

I think it somehow beckons to the 25% Italian in my heritage and I want to eat paper thin slices of this like other people eat potato chips.

image via http://rhcl.com.au
Delice de Bourgogne (cow's milk)
(from murrayscheese.com) Delice de Bourgogne (Burgundy) is produced by Fromagerie Lincet. The pasteurized triple creme (75% butterfat in dry matter) marries full-fat cow milk with fresh cream, producing an unapologetically rich, whipped delight. Unlike many straightforward triple-cremes, this one has a thin, pungent mold rind that imparts straw and mushroom aromas, complementing the buttery yellow, sweet cream interior. 

This was another part of the gift from my Sister in Law and is now officially my benchmark for triple cream cheeses. Fairly pungent smelling but as usual its bark was worse than its bite. The interior was fairly sweet and almost crumbly (like a chèvre), with a thick, sticky, gooey, more intense layer just under the bloomy rind. I like the way textures and flavors can vary even in one chunk of cheese.

I had a fair amount of Riesling with this (also a gift, sadly I did not think to get a shot of the label) and despite not being terribly into sweet wines of late it went REALLY well.

Not only would I buy this again, if it weren't for my insatiable curiosity in the cheese aisle it would probably be the ONLY triple cream cheese I would ever buy. That being said, my enthusiasm for this cheese definitely outstripped the interest of the people I shared it with that day and they are all adventurous eaters. I would not bring this to a party unless you knew you'd be partying with some SERIOUS cheese lover.

I ate this while watching Scarlett Johansson in Under The Skin (link opens to the trailer on Youtube) and somehow that seemed fitting.

Kerrygold Cashel Blue (cow's milk)
(from http://kerrygoldusa.com) Cashel Blue is a semi-soft, creamy Irish farmhouse cheese, distinguished by its round, full flavor and signature tang. Its buttery color is punctuated by characteristic blue veining.

This was part of my first C'est Cheese delivery. SHOCKINGLY mellow with a really neat buttery/smoky undercurrent. Normally I expect a lot of bite in a greener/stickier blue cheese but this had about as minimal bite as blue cheese gets. If I were trying to woo someone to the blue side I might very well start here.

I had it with water crackers but I think this would be amazing with fresh greens. I immediately thought of using this for blue-cheese-stuffed endive hors-d'oeuvres.

Langres (cow's milk)
(from murrayscheese.com) Made in Champagne and finished with a concave top designed to hold a bit of the eponymous sparkler, cheesemakers wash each little cow’s milk round with brine and then rub it with raccou, a natural colorant derived from a tropical shrub. The elegantly wrinkled rind adds textural interest and develops a dense cream that is cakey at the core with a luscious creamline and distinctive porcine savoriness. Langres’s signature, though, is its concave cap, designed to cradle a splash of terroir-appropriate Champagne.

Soooooooooo stinky. I had to wash my hands twice any time I touched it! Another part of the gift from my Sister In Law and I think it was actually the first one I tried of the bunch. This was really delicious, salty and definitely a bit meaty but very round and mellow, yet another "its stink is worse than its bite" cheese which has become my favorite category of cheese to try out of late.

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