having apprenticed for a gifted cheesemaker for quite some time now, i have learned the wonders of truly great cheese. my childhood was velveeta. my twenties promises to be a really mushroomy brie...or a bleu that stinks up your car in a matter of moments...or maybe a washed rind something or other that coats your tongue with goodness. really, i can't say for sure. maybe some pure soul will create the perfect washed rind bleu brie. i think i could swear my allegiance to that.
the purpose of this post was to let you in on a few cheeses i've tasted recently that sort of blew my mind. i've gotten to the point where i can usually look at a cheese, smell a cheese, and decide whether it's for me or not. some people have a weather knee. i have a cheese nose.
"winnimere" by jasper hill farms in greensboro, vermont. beautiful orange rind produced by washing the cheese with a lambic style beer brewed on the premises. a round wrapped in spruce bark (no kidding, folks). the piney flavor of the bark is perhaps the most stunning thing about this cheese, and i definitely tasted a hint of smoky bacon flavor. the rind is fairly thin, but has a nice toothy quality to it that i can hardly attempt to describe--instantaneously grainy, slightly firm but giving way immediately to the viscous, velvet interior, which might be compared to mascarpone times two. homogenous interior (not runny around the rind and firm in the middle--consistent all the way through. RAW MILK, which is obvious because pasteurized milk cheeses DON'T TASTE AS GOOD AND THEY CAN NEVER ASPIRE TO. basically, an incredible, beautiful, fairly flawless cheese that's worth the large amount of money you will inevitably spend on it. it's only produced a few months out of the year, so grab one if you see it and guard it jealously.
"delice de bourgogne." a bloomy rind brie-type cheese (thicker than a traditional brie, though) with an aroma like really good body odor and mushrooms. indulge me a little, good folks. this cheese will coat your tongue and rush over your palate with something like pure love (mushrooms again), and then you get this little mineral bite from the rind, which is very slightly ammoniaesque, but in the best possible way, as it compliments the rich, silky interior. you will find it difficult to leave this cheese alone. on more than one occasion i found myself standing in front of the open refrigerator in the middle of the night, having been called by name by this wicked little wedge. spreading this cheese on bread makes you feel like the master of the universe, so giving is it to the edge of the knife.
"roaring forties bleu." it's a bleu. what more can i say? if you love bleu cheese, you will adore this one. if you don't love bleu cheese, i'll get back to you later about the therapy group i'm trying to start for special people like yourself. musky, sharp, bitter, salty as a mouthful of oyster brine, a little grainy--not smooth like a good roquefort. not so unusual a bleu as to be off-putting to all but the zaniest bleu fanatics, but certainly noteworthy.
"langa la tur." resembles the delice, but is smellier. the rind was what excited me. i took one look at it, and the slightly textured, white rind gave it away as something worth devouring. almost like the exterior of a walnut shell. and then the smell...through the plastic wrap i kid you not. it smelled, as the hippies might say, dank. it was a very sexy smell. and the cheese itself, texture-wise and flavor-wise, was equally dank.
there will be more, fine people. meg works steps away from a truly well-stocked cheese counter which she peruses multiple times a day, and she sees no need for willpower when it comes to something so fine.