Cheese 120-Truffle Tremor


Sometimes I freaking hate “technology.”  Sometimes, like especially when I have JUST WRITTEN an entire blog post and then it gets eaten by the computer, I just feel like throwing in the towel.  Really, that’s how I feel sometimes.

Other things that sometimes make me angry include ignorance-specifically cheese ignorance.  I was at a mall kiosk the other day (yes, feel pity, I was that desperate for food) when a woman approached a Greek “food” place and asked them if they used “goat’s cheese or milk cheese?”  I almost went crazy on her.  Really.  Milk cheese?  What the hell do you think goat’s cheese is made of?  Modified goat sweat?  Umm.  Anyway, I digress, the thing is, there’s just so much prejudice against goat’s cheese out there, it’s really a shame when it’s basically the best thing ever.

Speaking of the best thing ever, I think it’s generally agreed upon by all people over the age of 10 that truffles are also the best thing ever.  They just are, do not try to argue this point with me, especially this morning whilst I am so cross at both technology and cheese ignorance.  I don’t know what the hell goes into the creation of these magical mushrooms (not those kind of magical mushrooms, silly) but they just make anything that touches them about 50% better.  So to mix goat’s milk cheese and truffles is kind of unfair, right?  The best cheese and the best taste together, it’s kind of like caramel and salt-hard to go wrong with an alliance like that.  However, just because something is patently going to be great doesn’t mean I need to ignore it out of principal, right? It’s my blog, and I can eat whatever cheese I want to.  So it is unfair, I’m just going to put that out there now.  Pairing truffles with anything is unfair, truffle cheese in a can would probably be divine, but pairing it with a bloomy-rind surface-ripened goat’s-milk cheese, isn’t that just kind of so fabulous it should almost be illegal?  Do all other cheeses just tremor at the sight of it?

I have previously reviewed one other truffle cheese-Boschetto al Tartufo on day 59 https://myblogofcheese.wordpress.com/2011/12/29/day-59-boschetto-al-tartufo/ .This was a hard sheep’s milk cheese with slivers of white truffle that put me over the moon with joy!  I have also previously reviewed another cheese by today’s maker Cypress Grove Chevre Creamery, https://myblogofcheese.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/day-90-lamb-chopper/ a fantastic sheep’s milk  gouda, so of course, I was fascinated to learn that the Cypress Grove also made a Goat’s milk truffle cheese.  Clearly, this cheese and I had to make each other’s acquiaintance.


My little wedge of pasteurized goat’s milk Truffle Tremor cheese is perfectly ripened.  Do you see how it’s wet and creamy just under that perfect rind?  Do you see the chalky chevre-like interior flecked with truffle?  This is a beautiful cheese.  When I picked it up off my table after photographing it, it stuck to the table- it’s that sticky and runny.  The smell is quite faint, a tiny whiff of goat, the smallest hint of mushroom, but my taste buds squirt in anticipation, they are wise by now, they know this is something special.
Here goes…
OH MY GOD.  This is so unfair.  This is like 6 foot blond models from Sweden-how is the rest of the world supposed to compete? Truffle Tremor hits a triple crown of taste and texture. It’s spicy goat’s milk, ridiculous umami of truffle, also sweet ripe cheese, but tempered by the slightly bitter and salty interior…but then’s there’s the texture…or textures…there’s so much going on!  It’s unctuous and creamy, it”s chalky and flaky, the rind is chewy and tensile-it all mixes up into this blissful cacophony of truffle goat flavour.  It’s just crazy good, but not a starter cheese-don’t give this one to the cheese newbs, they won’t know what hit them, plus it would be a waste-chuck some cheddar at them and keep this one hidden.  Truffle Tremor is a little special treat to share with your most discerning Turophile friends-they will love you for it.
Nice work, Cypress Grove, Truffle Tremor, you are definitely my slice of cheese.

Cheese 119-Bresse Bleu (Bleu de Bresse)

This cheese journey of mine has been beset by many trials and tribulations over the last 8 months.  There was the great fridge breakdown of 2011,  that heinous stomach flu, then there was Christmas, and there was the cleanse…but through each I soldiered on, and through each of these foibles, the cheese was purchased and sampled-until this week. This Monday I eagerly planned a food field trip to a new cheese shop in a town close by that I had never visited which reportedly-had a number of rare Canadian cheeses-how exciting!

It took me almost an hour to drive to this remote location (I tell you this so that you may appreciate my dedication to cheese).  I drove up, parked my car, and made a b-line to the front door which beckoned me-where I was stopped.  By the police. A uniformed officer opened the door sharply and informed me “ma’am, we are closed.”  It was only then that I noticed the police tape and multiple police vehicles with lights on surrounding the shop.  Seriously.  I was so gobsmacked by the notion of a new cheese shop that I had blithely walked into a crime scene.  That’s how I roll when it comes to cheese.

Thus, today’s cheese is not some exotic little Canadian number that I can wax on about: how rare, how special, the terroir, et cetera.  Today we had to settle for something a little more pedestrian and thus available at my local market which is not covered in police tape.

Actually, it’s a good idea to review Bleu de Bresse, AKA Bresse Bleu, as I realize I have not yet reviewed any cheese in this family-the bloomy rind/blue cheese hybrid.  There are many cheeses in this family.  This is a sneaky little cheese which might surprise you at a party- you see that white mushroomy rind and think, “ah yes, a  camembert, I can handle that!” but it’s not until you have cut into it, that you realize the inside is studded with little pockets of blue mold.  You have been tricked! The first time this ever happened to me I thought the cheese had gone off and no one had noticed.  Nope, they do this on purpose.  The good thing about this type of cheese is that it really is a gateway cheese to more intense blues.  Because it looks so benign, it’s easy to talk someone into just trying just a little bit.  It’s so mild and friendly that it might just be the perfect place to start a foray into blue.

Bleu de Bresse comes from France. It is a cow’s milk cheese made from pasteurized milk and it’s definitely factory made.  The texture and appearance externally is similar to camembert with that soft, white and edible rind. Bresse Bleu first arrived on the scene in 1951 and comes from the French Province of Bresse-specifically the French village of Bourge-en-Bresse.  The brand and trademark for Bleu de Bresse are wholly owned by European cheese giant Bongrain-thus all Bresse Bleu is the same, and all Bresse Bleu is one-there are no regional variations.  Alas, I was unable to find any sexy little stories about the history of this cheese, but it reminds me of a nice Cambazola so I like to think that’s the inspiration. I have no idea, really. That’s just me musing aloud.

This cheese is basically a camembert which has our old friend, Penicillium Roqueforti introduced straight into the curds, afterwards it is  drained and covered with pulverized Penicillium camemberti to form the outer coating, so it truly is a hybrid, Roquefort on the inside, and camembert on the outside.

My little round of Bresse Bleu is quite attractive and demure.  I cleverly purchased it on sale as it was just at the “best before date” which you must ALWAYS do with a soft cheese like this.  It does indeed appear to be a boring little camembert-type white mould cheese, but when you cut it open, a little blue mouldy surprise!  This one’s quite creamy inside as I waited for just the right time to open it, there is some blue dappling, but it’s nothing crazy.  The interior is much creamier and more yellow than I expected.  The smell is actually divine, it makes me feel somewhat strange-it’s a tiny bit like pee, but also like mushrooms, truffles, rotten logs and carnal thoughts, all wrapped up into one.  Mmm.

Here goes…

Oh yum!  It’s actually fabulous.  It’s not as salty as most blues, it’s more creamy and sweet with that spicy tang well-balanced by the mellow note of cream.  The texture is also fantastic, that camembert rind is really thick and chewy and makes a great contrast to the creamy interior for a great mouth-feel.  This really is a fusion cheese, it’s totally camembert, and totally Roquefort, cool.  This is not a crumbler, this is a smeary cheese.  Wow, it’s good.  I think this one would be a good starter blue for those fearful of the real stuff, but it’s good enough for my cheese plate all on its own.

Well, the boys in Blue lead me to Bresse Bleu-maybe it was meant to be, because Bresse Bleu, you are my slice of cheese.


Cheese 114-Garrotxa


 

Cheese 114-Garrotxa

After months of obsessing over cheese, researching cheese, living cheese, it’s such a pleasure to discover a cheese that is unlike any I have seen before. It still shocks me, really-how much we humans can do with a little bit of milk, time and ingenuity. I stumbled across today’s cheese, Garrotxa the other day while browsing my local cheese specialty store’s wonderful box of cheese ends for sale.  I highly recommend checking out these boxes of bits and ends.  It’s a perfect way to try a number of cheeses without making a huge commitment to something gnarly.  Most cheese stores have them, just ask.

This wedge of Garrotxa jumped out at me chiefly due to its ugliness.  Really, this is one vile looking cheese.  It’s almost black on the outside, and this black, bloomy rind had crept all the way around the cut side, enveloping this cheese in a zombie-like black mould rind thing.  I guess it’s no great surprise that it was in the left-over bin.  Of course, I do love an underdog, especially a cheese underdog, so I ignored all the other flashy cheeses and brought this little ugly duckling home with me. Also, I recalled that  the Mythbusters episode entitled Greased Lightning determined that Garrotxa is an ideal cheese for use as a cannonball, due to its size and elasticity.  I  mean, really, an ugly cheese that doubles as a cannonball. How can I resist?

It turns out that Garrotxa is a Spanish cheese made from unpasteurized goat’s milk.  That means pregnant ladies, stay away!  It also has a really unique and kind of creepy weird mold rind thing going on, so really, this one is not for folks with a compromised immune system. Interestingly, some sources on the net claim that this is a new cheese, hitting the market in 1981 and making a real name for itself and gaining popularity.  So much popularity that  there is a big movement to make this an AOC cheese, as imposters-yes-cheese impostors are cropping up claiming the name but not playing the game.  Interestingly, a few sources actually refer to Garrotxa as an AOC cheese already (this means protected name, protected region) while other state that it is not.The Catalan Association of Artisan Cheese Producers have made application for a protected designation of origin, but I don’t think they have it yet, some people may just be jumping the cheese gun here.

I digress, as I mentioned some folks believe that this is a new cheese born in the 1980’s, but a more interesting tale is that it is an ancient cheese, only brought back to life (see, I knew it was a zombie) in the 1980’s. It is actually a very old traditional type of cheese in the region, but the recipe was basically forgotten for while.  Following the Spanish civil war and the second world war, Spain was left in abject poverty. The government implemented a policy which essentially rendered small-scale farming illegal (weird). This basically  forced artisan cheese making underground.  Some cheese survived, others didn’t.  So when Garrotxa reappeared int he 1980’s and was branded a “new cheese” real turophiles knew it wasn’t.

Perhaps the coolest thing about Garrotxa besides the fact that it is actually a zombie brought back from the dead  (and also the most frightening to me personally) is the unusual blue-grey and almost suede-like fungus on the outside known as a pell florida. Garrotxa is also known as ‘formatge pell florida’, which means ‘flowery skin cheese.” In this case, the word flowery is clearly euphemistic.  My little heinous wedge of Garrotxa really is an ugly duckling.  Before I cut away the black mould that crept over the cut sides it really didn’t resemble anything that one should eat.  After cutting it away a creamy yellow cheese emerged in sharp contrast to the black velvet rind.  Some sources claim the rind is edible, others say stay away.  I’m going with the later today!  This cheese actually smells amazing.  As I have been writing this morning and the cheese has been waiting for me, it slowly has warmed up and is emanating this amazing mushroomy smell.  It’s actually fantastic, I don’t know what’s in the black velvet rind but it smells divine. The smell of goat is faint, but unmistakable.  The cheese cuts nicely, it’s semi-hard, there are no eyes.

Here goes…

Mmmm.  It’s lemon-goat-mushroom.  It’s surprisingly mild, the goat is pretty chilled out.  There’s a funny kind of bitter note in this cheese, especially as you approach the rind, it’s not offensive, just not what I expected. I suspect this has something to do with the unique properties of this black mold. The cheese has a great texture, it’s creamier that other Spanish goat cheeses I have sampled and melts easily in the mouth. There’s quite a bit of salt, but it’s not overpowering. It’s actually pretty sumptuous, I can see why it’s so popular, although personally, it lacks that peppery bite that I do so love in a goat cheese, and that bitter aftertaste makes this one not quite my slice of cheese-although I would support you if it was yours.

Cheese 113 Comox Brie-Natural Pastures Cheese Company


It takes a big person to admit a big mistake.  And I’m, um-a big person.  I can’t believe it! I have made a grievous cheese-based error.  I have somehow overlooked the World Championship Cheese contest gold medallist-even though it’s made in my own back yard.  Forgive me, cheese Gods!

I was in my local market the other day, checking out the cheese-as I always do-when something caught my eye on the package of Comox Brie.  That something was a Gold medal. Yikes. A cheese Gold medal.  You see, I purposefully overlooked this cheese BECAUSE it’s always at my local market-I made the mistake of assuming that anything that could be widely purchased was crap, and that’s just foolish snobbery on my part. Do not be trapped into this assumption. I can’t tell you how many “artisan” type handmade cheeses I have tried that were just kind of meh, and how many widely available cheeses I have tried that really rocked.  I know, it seems wrong, but I must speak the cheese truth.

Comox Brie comes from the town of Courtenay- a small town on Vancouver Island with a close connection to my own hometown, Powell River.  I spent many days in my youth wandering the little streets of this town. Comox is an even tinier little town near Courtnenay. Comox Brie takes its name from this town.  Sweet. I feel almost like cousins.

Natural Pastures cheese company is a family owned affair.  The Smith family makes only “artisan cheeses,” all hand-made under the guidance of their very own Swiss  Master Cheese maker Paul Sutter, originally from Switzerland where he received traditional Swiss training and professional accreditation. For the record, I also would like my very own Master Swiss cheese maker!  Hint: Mother’s Day is tomorrow, should be an easy gift!

This company sources all the milk from its own Farm-Beaver Meadow as well as a handful of other local farms, all on Vancouver Island. Thus the “terroir” of the  coastal valley environment is evident in this cheese-all the milk coming from a single area.  Interestingly, when I was a child we sometimes ate bear.  If the bear had been feasting on berries, the meat was sweet and succulent.  If, however, the bear had been feasting on salmon, the meet was-well-fishy.  This is an example of terroir that I just wanted to share with you, because it’s my blog, and I can say whatever I want!  Ha!

I digress.  The Smith family turned to cheese making in 2001 and have made a big splash on the cheese world winning 40-plus prestigious national and international awards. How did I miss this?  Scratches head.  Interestingly, the farms they work with, “Heritage Dairy farms” are committed to environmental sustainability including natural wildlife habitat-their  enhanced stream habitats raise thousands of wild Coho Salmon each year which could be eaten by bears causing a unique salmon terroir.  See, full circle logic.

I digress again.  Natural Pastures Cheese Comox Brie recently earned the pinnacle World Championship Gold Medal, in the 27th biennial Contest (WCC) a technical evaluation of cheese by an international panel of 22 judges, experts in cheese evaluation. Again, I shall volunteer to be a judge at this event.  It saddens me that I have not been called upon to judge cheese, as I am so clearly qualified!

I digress yet again.  As the first World Championship cheese ever produced from Vancouver Island and first WCC gold medal Brie ever from western Canada, scoring 98.95, Comox Brie edged out Damafros double crème from Quebec (which I previously reviewed and ADORED, OMG so good).   Comox Brie begins with milk from a herd of Ayrshire cattle raised by Guy Sim, a Canada Master Breeder. Wow, this cheese and the cows all have their own pedigree. I’m assuming this is a pasteurized cheese, but I can’t be sure-I’m about 99.99% certain of this, but as the wrapper has disappeared and it doesn’t say on the website it’s an educated guess at this point.

I have actually had a hard time reviewing Comox Brie, chiefly because everyone in my family kept eating it before I was ready to sample it.  My small wedge-which was much larger before the swarm of locusts known as my family descended upon it-is a typical white looking brie-penicillium mold on the outside (yup, the white stuff is mold, deal with it) and creamy buttery interior.  I have wisely chosen to taste this one right before the best before date, when the brie is perfect.  Like women, brie really must be aged in order to achieve true greatness.  You can tell a brie is ready if it’s gooey inside-if it’s kind of dry and chalky you have a young brie-put it back! This Comox Brie is gorgeous looking, so creamy and succulent, it smells  faintly of ammonia, mushroom and um, adult pleasures..shall I leave it at that?

Here goes….

Mmmmm.  Oh my lord, now this is a great brie. Like, really, really great. It’s perfectly ripened, look at the picture below, see how it’s gooey all the way through, that’s what you want!  It’s making love to my teeth and tongue.  It’s salty and creamy and slightly uric and carnal…oh yes, this is a carnal little cheese. This is actually quite a naughty little cheese. This is the way I always want brie to be but it rarely is.  It’s absolutely divine.  Yes, this is a Gold Medal winner-all the way.  Scrumptious!  Go and get yourself some of this, stat.  Let it ripen up until the best before date and go for it-you’ll thank me later.

Cheese 110-Tomme de Savoie

 

I almost feel as though my cheese journey has come full circle.  My interest in cheese was first piqued by my daughter’s trip to France and subsequent interest in French cheese.  In reciprocity for her stay in France, we recently became hosts to our very own French exchange student, a charming and bright 17 year old girl.  This girl is so bright and charming that she brought her new Canadian mommy FOUR cheeses from France, yes, that’s right, four.  This clearly illustrates to me that this young lady knows the way to my heart.  It’s simple people, just bring me cheese.  While I have actually previously sampled and adored two of her cheese gifts, Beaufort (mmmmmm) and Abondance (oh yahhhhhhhhh) she also brought the next two beauties I shall review for me-neither of which I have seen in Canada for sale.  You may just have to appreciate these darlings on the page here, I’m not sure if they ever make it to our fair shore- but what an excuse to go to France (does one need an excuse to go to France?)

I have run into the word “Tomme” before in relation to cheese, and have previously reviewed Tomme de Montagne, Tomme Haute Richelieu and Tomme Alsace Fermier.  So what’s with all the Tommes?  It turns out the word “Tomme” (not Dick, not Harry) is a generic cheese word which generally refers to cheese made from many herds mixed, or small alpine cheeses, or skim milk cheeses, or some combination of the three (sorry, that’s as clear as it gets).  The word Tomme is followed by a place name to clarify it’s point of origin.  Hence Tomme de Savoie, is from the …Savoie region, now you get it!

This Tomme is a true Mountain cheese made from skim raw cow’s milk,  milk left over from making cheeses like Beaufort or Gruyere, which are from the exact same region, and tend to hog up all the full-fat milk.  I’m actually all for a skim milk cheese if it gives me that nice cheesy mouth feel, it’s only those wretched low-fat so-called mozzarella type cheeses that have spoiled the whole skim milk cheese thing for me.  It’s good to be open minded about this sort of thing. A girl who loves cheese like me, and is also attempting to watch her weight, needs to be careful-my sample has 30% fat which seems just about right.

According to my research, there are actually many Tomme de Savoies, virtually every village in the area makes one, and the name isn’t controlled by one village.  This cheese does have a designation type that is new for me. I have discussed, at length the AOC designation, a designation that protects the name and terroir of a cheese, but Tomme de Savoie has Protected Geographical Indication or PGI (IGP, Indication Géographique Protégée) which seems to be an “AOC lite” type designation, meaning that this cheese is certified  as being traditional or a typical speciality from a clearly defined region, but without the controlled specification of the AOC.  That’s my best shot at explaining it, folks.  One source online source stated that Tomme de Savoie is currently being considered for an AOC designation but isn’t there yet. Tomme de Savoie obtained the “Protected Designation of Origin” label in 1996.

Tomme de Savoie was first produced by local farmers as a way of using left over skim milk hundreds of years ago and continues to be made in small batches using the same techniques.  The inhabitants of the Savoie region are terribly fond of this cheese, and will eat it with their coffee for their afternoon snack. Tomme de Savoie is made from the milk of Tarine or Abondance cows. After the curd is pressed it is matured for 2-4 months in a traditional cellar, which produces the thick rind and adds flavor. Tomme de Savoie is salted, rubbed and turned over twice a week-lucky!  My lovely stinky wedge of Tomme de Savoie travelled a long way to make it to my table.

This is one of the most fabulous looking cheeses I have ever seen-and that’s really saying a lot this far into my cheese journey.  The rind is dark and forbidding, the interior creamy and pocked with tiny holes.  It just looks like a cheese ought to look-like an authentic cheese, I can imagine a farmer or shepherd munching on this Tomme 1000 years ago on the side of a hill-it just reeks of authenticity and is clearly not a factory-made cheese.  It’s perfectly hideous and unabashed in its cheesy glory.

My French student informs me that the rind is not typically eaten with this cheese, so I shall avoid it-truly it is a little daunting.  While I do enjoy a raunchy rind on my cheese this one is mottled black and brown and a tad too zombie-like for me. Tomme de Savoie smells fabulous in that unwashed toes and uric acid sort of way that I adore, it simpers beside me warming and off-gassing, proclaiming to all that it is a little stinker.

Here goes…

Mmmmm, ohhhhhh.  Much more mild than I was expecting.  It’s a little lemony, that surprises me, there’s also a balance of salt and toes that’s just freaking divine.  Oh!  It’s creamy, much more so than the other Mountain cheeses I have sampled which tend to be semi-hard, this one’s actually quite soft and toothsome, there’s not a lot of chewing involved, it’s perfectly tensile and springy.  I can’t believe this is a low fat cheese-you would never, ever know, the mouth-feel is just as perfectly unctuous as any other full-fat cheese.  It’s actually sticking to my teeth, cleaving to them, it’s made best friends with my tongue, why, “hello!”  There’s a real feel of forest terroir and dank cellars in Tomme de Savoie-make no mistake-while it is relatively mild you can’t deny that hint of mystery and dark places and mushrooms-but it’s all held in perfect balance. This cheese is freaking unbelievable, why doesn’t everyone eat it?

Oh Tomme de Savoie!  You are so scrumptious and low fat, why aren’t you available to me here?  You are definitely my slice of cheese.

Day 99-Island Brie

I have been waiting a long time to review anything by Little Qualicum Cheeseworks.  This fromagerie has been on my radar for a long time, and are fully deserving of the penultimate spot in my blog, due to their overall radness. Little Qualicum is a family-owned business on Vancouver Island based on the family farm, Morningstar.

Clarke and Nancy Gourlay returned to Canada from Switzerland in 1999, where they had been living for several years. Inspired by the cheeses there, they set out to learn and practice their own interpretation of cheese making in Canada, like any sane person would do.  They found the climate on  Vancouver Island ideal for the ripening of washed-rind cheeses, and thus, Little Qualicum Cheeseworks was created. They began milking cows and making cheese in 2001, and three years later moved to Morningstar Farm.  They have opened their farm and animals to the public ever since.

Morningstar farm has its own herd of Holstein, Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, and Canadienne dairy cows. So they are clearly not cow reed purists, but I’m down with that.  Diversity is where it’s at. Their cheese is made only from their own milk, no cheating, and the milk all comes from the farm on which the cheese is made. Morningstar was the first dairy farm in British Columbia to be certified by the SPCA, and I don’t really know what that entails, but it does sound good to me.  I’m going eat this cheese, bad karma free.

Like all the coolest farms, Morningstar offers tours and has its own store.  You can watch the cheesemakers in action (blessed are the cheesemakers).There’s a self guided tour and people are welcome to stay and picnic.  Why do I not live closer? If you can’t make it there, at least go check out their website which is totally over the top and very well done, in fact, this website is the best of the 99 I have reviewed.  Bravo, to whomever pulled this one together, this is how it’s done, folks: www.cheeseworks.ca .

There are three generations working Morningstar farm. Clarke and Nancy Gourlay are the owners.  Nancy oversees the cheese making and packaging. Clarke is in charge of the farm and animals. They live with their boys on the farm who also work.  Nancy’s mom and dad have both helped in sales, and Clarke’s folks have also pitched in.

Little Qualicum, which is about half way up Vancouver Island, currently has a line of 16 cheeses which can be found for sale at many stores across BC. Today’s cheese is their Island Brie Cheese which is their best seller!  It’s a traditional brie made of pasteurized cow’s milk which is perched on a little wooden board, rescued from the burn pile of a local guitar manufacturer. Island Brie beat out competitors from all across Canada this year to take the top spot for Brie at the 2011 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix!

My pretty round of Island brie has been been sliced in anticipation of meeting me on a more personal level.It’s a medium sized brie cheese with a white bloomy rind and a creamy interior paste.  I am a little concerned though, as I have checked it’s best before date, and this cheeese is virtually an infant, it’s a good month off from best before.  If I have learned one thing, it’s that I like my brie ripe, and this one isn’t.  Letting a bloomy rind cheese ripen will allow the interior paste to become gooey and oozy, which I adore! A fresh brie will be more tart and chalky, and that’s just not my thing.This brie is behaving a little too much, there’s no oozing, and it’s got me worried.

Here goes…

Mmmmm, oh, but it is good!  It’s true, I wish I had let this little darling ripen up a little, it’s a tad on the dry and firm and lemony side of the brie spectrum for me, but that’s not really fair, I suspect there are great changes awaiting this little cheese over the next couple of weeks.  In the meantime, it is a tasty cheese, there’s a good balance of sweet, salt and lemon, also a faint mushroom in the rind, but no ammonia for this cheese, and I think that’s a first in a brie for me!  The texture is just a little firm, but again that’s the age, it’s pliant and slightly chewy, it’s not melting everywhere, it’s really quite well behaved.  Tell you what, Island Brie, it’s back in the fridge for you, let’s talk in a month, I suspect you are really my slice of cheese.

 

Day 98-Blue Juliette

Back to Saltspring Island today.  I previously reviewed Blossom’s Blue, a blue cow’s milk cheese by the Moonstruck cheese company from Saltspring Island.  Today’s cheese is Blue Juliette by the Saltspring Island Cheese company that specialize in Goat’s cheese. Likely you, like me, are thinking “how is this fair that a tiny little island has two of its own cheese companies?” It isn’t fair, it’s just mean! But there’s Saltspring Island for you, everything good, all in one place.

Saltspring Island Cheese Company is owned and run by David and Nancy Wood. Saltspring Island Cheese makes handmade goat and sheep cheeses, and has been making cheese since 1994, and selling  since 1996 (and I’m thinking that was a fun two years of eating cheese in between). Although mostly known for their chevres they also make several other types of goat cheeses, all on their farm on Salt Spring Island.

Each Saturday, from March through October, the Salt Spring Island Saturday Market flourishes with hippies catering to yuppies and all manner of sumptuous yummies including these cheeses, it’s where they got their start.  Saltspring Island Cheese welcomes visitors to wander around the farm, see the animals and enjoy the scenery. You can watch the cheese being made through their viewing windows and take a self-guided tour through the cheesemaking process.  It’s almost enough to make me want to go. Almost.

Blue Juliette, is a blue version of their Juliette cheese, a simple goat’s milk camembert similar to the Chevrotina we just sampled from Abbotsford.  It looks like goat’s milk Camembert is all the rage these days, and I’m just so goat-positive, I have to applaud.  Blue Juliette differs though, in that this one is blue with is a blue mould rind.  It is made of pasteurized cheese and thus, should be safe for the pregnant but I’m not sure about the moulds.  Actually, maybe I would eat something tamer if I were pregnant.  At least Listeria shouldn’t be an issue with this cheese, let’s leave it at that.  This cheese looks very, um, alive.

Blue Juliette has a bloomy edible mould rind but is also laced with a blue-green mould, giving the exterior a distinctive appearance which is actually kind of hideous and zombie-like. This cheese is not pierced like a Stilton, the mould is introduced externally, so that mould should stay on the outside of the cheese.  As Blue Juliette is essentially a camembert, it is not aged long. Blue Juliette  is made with half  blue and half white mould!  Yummy!  Add a little penicillium roqueforti into your penicillium camembertii and throw in a little goat and a gulf island, and this is what happens.  Blue Juliette is produced using local,  goat’s milk that is purchased from farms in and around the Salt Spring Island area.

This cheese is a little show stopper.  It was served at the G20  as part the main meal for the assembled world leaders.  Um, wow!  Go SSI!

My little wet wedge of Saltspring Island Cheese Company Blue Juliette is just on its best before date, which, as I hope we have all learned, is the best time to eat a surface ripened cheese. Go and buy those marked down bries!  See it as saying “best on” date, not best before. It’s a little frightening to behold, it’s the wettest cheese I have dealt with, it almost fell apart while I was cutting it. The interior is extremely unctuous and creamy looking.  The mould is on the rind only, not into the paste. It smells faintly of goat, and also faintly of carnal thoughts.

Here goes…

Oh wow, FAR OUT! (as they say on Saltspring)  This cheese is the freaking bomb!  It’s everything at once.  It’s goaty! It’s a ripe camembert! No, it’s a blue cheese!  It’s salty and melted and strong and mild.  Holy Hannah.  Now this is a cheese. The texture is completely over the top crazy good.  It’s not just gooey, it’s wet, the cheese clings and cloys to the inside of your mouth.  It’s begging me to spread it on something, but I am a purist, and thus am resisting.  This is definitely not a starter cheese, I think this one would just about kill my husband, but to each their own.  I think we have a winner here, and I shall be back.  Blue Juliette, you are certainly my slice of cheese!