Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Artisinal Cheese Sampler:
The New Shipment

Every two to three months or so, we are due to bring in five new cheeses for our artisinal sampler. We know the day that the cheeses are to come in, and for us, it's almost like anticipating Christmas. While you have a pretty good idea what you're going to receive, and you know that you're about to come into some excellent stuff, you just don't know how excellent. For us, this new batch of artisinal cheeses is incredible. The range of flavors may be the widest we have had yet on our sampler. 

#1 Ossau-Iraty Agout:  Ossau-Iraty is probably the least known 'Appelation d'Origine Controlee' (A.O.C) cheese. The Ossau-Iraty unites two regions of France in the Western Pyrénées: Ossau in the valley of the Bearn, and Iraty in the beech forests of the Pays Basque. The Ossau-Iraty is full of a delicious, nutty, robust taste if it is produced during the period from June to September when the herds move up to the high mountain meadows. Covered by a thick orange to grey rind, the pâte is white, supple and creamy. It becomes more firm as the maturing period is longer. An artisan pate may have small holes and should not stick to the palate.

Origin: France

#2 Cypress Grove Chevre Truffle Tremor:  This Pasteurized cultured goat milk cheese is one that we have had on our list before. We remember this cheese as it was one of the all-time favorites. Flavored with salt and truffle, this perfectly balanced marriage of ripened goat cheese jam-packed with Italian black summer truffles is elegant and sophisticated. You’ll enjoy the heavy floral, herb, and mushroom notes in this earth-shaking masterpiece. Best paired with port wine as a simple dessert.

Origin: California

#3 Ricciolo:  From an ancient and precious mountain tradition, the cheese Ricciolo unites a soft, melting, creamy ´under-rind´ with a friable and dry heart, becoming more aromatic throughout the seasoning. This cheese is obtained treating with heat the whole cow milk with a technology similar to the quartirolo cheese. The rounds mature on wooden boards for about 6 months, to aid the correct seasoning, conferring the soft and melting creaminess of the under-rind that, united to the immaculate friability of the heart, distinguishes the texture of the cylindrical round. The average weight of every round is about 3 kg. The rind is pink/brownish. The texture is compact, dry, white and friable. The taste is aromatic, more or less marked according to the seasoning. Perfect as a table cheese; we suggest, to those who love to experience contrasting tastes, to serve it with red wine jellies or fig sauce.

Origin: Italy

#4 Taleggio:  Taleggio is a semi-soft, washed-rind cheese from the Valtaleggio region in northern Italy, near Lombardy. It is characteristically aromatic yet mild in flavor and features tangy, meaty notes with a fruity finish. The texture of the cheese is moist-to-oozy with a very pleasant melt-in-the-mouth feel. The combination of the soft texture, pungent aroma, and buttery flavors has proven to be especially addictive when spread on fresh crusty bread. Taleggio pairs nicely with Italian Nebbiolo wines, as well as a wide range of reds and whites.

Origin: Italy

#5 Cantar De Covadonga:  Cantar de Covadonga is a blue-veined soft cheese made from a blend of meticulously selected cow’s and sheep’s milk. The Cantar de Covadonga is white, crumbly but very creamy, slightly moist, with distinctive blue veins generously spread through the heart of the cheese. The blue mold that gives its unique character is the Penicillium roqueforti. The Cantar de Covadonga matures for 3 to 4 months until it obtains its generous and pronounced flavor and its unctuous and supple texture.

Origin: Spain

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