Thursday, February 27, 2014

New Cheese Sampler

When I sat down to write my article this week for the newsletter, I told Ray that I would talk about our new cheese sampler that just came in. The first thing he told me was "to be passionate about it." Being someone that embodies the word passion, I figured that this would be an easy undertaking for myself and thought, "It can't be too difficult to write about cheeses!"

Turns out I was pretty wrong about this topic (and I usually don't admit when I'm wrong). First, when new cheeses come in everyone is usually pretty giddy when the delivery man walks through the door. It's always a new experience to try something new and after a while of sampling different products, it gets easier to pick up on the little nuances and subtleties that each cheese boasts. Being part of this for only a few months now both you (the reader) and I (the writer) will now get to enjoy an educational journey of the 5 new cheeses that are going to be available for sampling soon. 

#1 Daru - Hailing from Cooleeney, Ireland, the owners control the process of cheese making from the cows to the final product. Made with a vegetarian rennet (enzymes that coagulate the milk) allows for vegetarians and diabetics alike to enjoy this cheese. Daru is matured for nine months in specially controlled rooms where the cheese is cared for by a team of dedicated cheese makers to allow the natural flavor to develop. The rind on Daru is natural with a brown-grey colour that leads to a mild and buttery taste with notes of earth and cellar coming through from the rind. Type: Cow's Milk - Country of Origin: Ireland

#2 Saint Nectaire Laitier - Made from Salers cows that feed on the very rich and perfumed volcanic pasture lands of the uplands of the Auvergne region of France. The Saint Nectaire fermier (farm) cheese is easily recognized by its green label. The aging process (affinage) is carried out in old vine cellars. At maturity, the thick rind gives off a subtle, slightly pungent smell of rye straw and mushroom. The pâte should have a pronounced taste of nut, milk and the lush pasture, lands of its origin. The natural rind, covered by white, yellow or red mould according to the maturing period, hides a creamy and supple pâte.

#3 Quesos el piconero - From the famous La Mancha region of Spain, this cheese is a product made from raw sheep's milk. Controlled ripening is ensured for a minimum period of 10 months. After the ripening is done, the cheese is allowed to finish maturing in Spanish brandy for a minimum of two months .Once the maturation process is completed, the product is covered by a layer of butter mixed with fine herbs and wrapped in grease paper for another month to allow the flavors to blend. Type: Sheep's Milk - Country of Origin: Spanish

#4 Ballarana Gouda - In the Netherlands, a country inundated with gouda, this is a most unusual export. In contrast to younger goat gouda - which is only aged for a few months and possesses mild, snow-white paste - this aged version is held for at least one year before release, resulting in a rough and stony wheel with a deep toffee-colored interior smattered with white patches of crystalline minerals. The milky sweetness of the younger version intensifies into a caramelized, burnt sugary treasure with a similar crunchy texture to boot. The unapologetic butterscotch is well suited to giant, juicy Zinfandel. Type: Goat's Milk - Country of Origin: Netherlands

#5 Favrskov Danish Blue - Made in the Danish tradition with fresh cow’s milk and an eight to twelve-week aging process, Favrskov cheeses are semi-soft and slightly moist, with a creamy consistency for a strong taste. These blue wheels are creamy cheese with a robust, full-bodied flavor. The blue veins give the cheese a piquant, yet tangy taste, and it crumbles easily for the perfect topping. Type: Cow's Milk - Country of Origin: Denmark

Hopefully this journey of the mind opens you up for a journey of the palette. Served with fresh marcona almonds, grapes, pears, olives, apricots, figs, and honey it is perfectly complemented by a glass of red or white wine and great company.

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