Cheese 134 Bouton-de-Culotte-a Diminutive Raw Milk Goat Cheese

After bringing you a rather mundane and tame cheese last blog post, I was stricken by guilt-guilt that I had let down my legions of readers. Perhaps legions is overly strong, but I know you readers are out there, and I’m so sorry to have bored you with such a pedestrian cheese.

To make up for that egregious oversight, I went searching for the most interesting looking cheese to review next, and that’s when I stumbled across this little beauty, Bouton-de- Culotte. Have you ever studied French? No? Well, let me help you out, Bouton-de-culotte means “buttons of pants” (of course, I prefer zippers to buttons, but that’s just me,) and it’s no wonder this cheese is called a button, because it’s just as cute as one, and also, about the same size as one.

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This Bouton-de-Culotte really did catch my eye, both because of its diminutive size and dark grey colour, but also because of its ridiculous price tag. My small Bouton cost nearly 7$ for really, a tiny morsel. It’s the caviar of the cheese world.

According to sources, Bouton-de-Culotte is actually a small Maconnais French cheese, (NB,Maconnais are also made from goat’s milk and carry the AOC designation.) It is from the Bourgognes region (Burgandy) in France. Boutons are traditionally stored during the autumn to be used throughout the winter. They are made of raw goat’s milk, so are bound to be rather raunchy twice, and who doesn’t like that in a cheese? By the winter when the cheese is ready to be eaten, the rind gets dark brown and the cheese becomes hard and it can then be grated into dishes for a little goaty je ne sais quoi?

And that’s about it for Bouton-de-Culotte, everything else on the ‘net is in French. It’s really quite a little mystery. How long has it been around? Who knows? Who makes it? A mystery. Why is it so damn expensive? Beats me. We will all have to be satisfied with these questions being unanswered. Alas.

But enough of that, my little Bouton seems more grey and white than brown in colour. Also, it’s currently August and these are supposed to be made in the autumn and eaten in the winter, so exactly how old is this cheese? Normally I’m into the rind, but the colour and age have frightened me, today I will be sampling the paste only. If I’m not here again in the next couple of weeks, it was the cheese!

My bouton smells like mushrooms and goat hooves-as it should. It’s musky and also redolent with the essence of barn. When I slice the cheese it’s firm, but not overly hard. It cuts and does not crumble. It’s a deep yellow colour near the ashy white rind and more of a chalky white near the centre.

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Here goes….

Wow! That packs a punch. Its really salty and slightly astringent, but with a lovely kick of goat. The paste has a nice chew, it melts on the tongue and teeth and does not crumble. It’s very flavourful, the combination of raw milk and goat means that all pistons are firing here. I dare not eat the rind, but as I approach it I do taste mushroom and fungus in a funky, salty way. I’m sure if I was brave enough to eat it, it would add another dimension to the cheese, but I am frightened and timid. It’s not at all offensive or overwhelming, no hint of foul mould or anything like that, but its certainly not a starter cheese. It’s actually freaking delicious, too bad its so damn expensive and way too small. One was not enough. Sigh, its all gone. That was fun.

If you are looking for a little goat adventure and feeling flush, go for it, it just might be your slice of cheese.

Cheese 130 Valdeon (Queso de Valdeon) DOP

 

I recognize that blue cheese isn’t for everyone. First, it looks kind of vile: it’s mouldy and blue and we humans generally don’t eat blue things because blue things are usually moldy, and moldy things usually make us sick. We are actually hard-wired to avoid blue foods (I’m sure I read that in a magazine somewhere.) Also, blue cheese kind of tastes like vomit, and I mean this in the very best way. As mentioned previously, the enzymes found in some blue cheeses are actually identical to those found in vomit, so it’s not JUST a coincidence! However, if one can get beyond these simple facts, there is a sumptuous world of blue cheese out there. Alas, my own immediate family cannot seem to move beyond the facts of blue mould and vomit, so I often eat blue cheeses all on my own. Don’t feel sorry for me though, I don’t want to share my blue cheese. After I review it, it spends the rest of the week crumbled in the daily salad, if you must know, and that blue and I really do enjoy the week together.

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I’ve been looking for a good Spanish blue to review for a while, Spain being renowned for their Blues.  I happily stumbled across today’s cheese, Valdeon at a local cheese shop-at long last.Valdeon is a traditional Spanish blue cheese produced in the valley of Valdeon in the province of Leon, Spain. The climate is less humid here than other regions of Spain and this results in (according to web sources)  a “less virulent mold” and hence a less intense tasting blue than some other Spanish blues, specifically the infamously raunchy tasting close cousin of Valdeon, Cabrales. Can we just perseverate for a moment on the phrase “less virulent mold?” That’s the kind of thing that makes cheese newbies run for the hills, so perhaps you might want to keep that little morsel of information to yourself when presenting a Spanish blue on your cheese board.

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The rind of a Valdeon is wrapped in the leaves of the sycamore tree, which allows certain bacteria to penetrate the cheese adding a unique and complex taste profile. If there are no leaves, it’s not a Valdeon.  Valdeon has DOP (PGI) or Protected Geographical Status. That means that all Valdeon is really Valdeon or someone’s in trouble. Valdeon can be made seasonally from cow’s milk, goat’s milk, or a mixture, so it’s hard to tell what kind of Valdeon I have, as I ‘m not about to run a DNA test on it. The mold used in this cheese is our old friend, penicillium roqueforti, and the milk used may be raw or pasteurized. Maturation takes place in real mountain caves for 2-4 months. And who doesn’t love a cheese matured in a real bona fide mountain cave, I certainly do. Usually.

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My little sticky wedge of Valdeon DOP is quite fascinating to behold. It looks a little like a Stilton, the creamy grey paste is shot through with a healthy (might one almost say virulent) looking blue mold. There is black leaf wrapping around the cheese. As I peel back this sycamore wrapping it’s kind of sticky and mouldy and somewhat grim, honestly, it feels like an autopsy. The wrapping does not wish to be separate from the cheese, but off it goes. Once it’s removed, the cheese awaits me. It smells divine, kind of like a mushroomy, reek, sordid, naughty, dark. It almost seems wrong to eat it in the morning, this is a mysterious nighttime cheese.

Here goes…Raunchy! Salty! Spicey! Mouldy! Holy hannah, if this is the milder version Cabrales how do people eat that cheese? Wow, Valdeon is kicking ass and taking numbers. Definitely NOT a starter blue. It’s burning my throat, and making my tongue go numb-incidentally this throat and tongue numbing is caused by  mycotoxins (fungal toxins) in the decomposing penicillium roqueforti, don’t worry, it’s not an allergy!  (I hope). OK, honestly, I admire this Valdeon, but it scares me. I want to drizzle it with honey and eat it with a pear or a chocolate bar, or something, but just off the plate it’s even a little virulent for my palate.

Wow. I’ve met my match.

Cheese 125 Pont L’Eveque

About once every two months, I like to go cross-border shopping into Bellingham, Washington. It’s only 1.5 hours from Vancouver, and-unlike Vancouver-it has a Trader Joe’s store- full of Canadians. The parking lot is awash with BC plates, it’s almost laughable.

Trader Joe’s features a new “Spotlight” cheese every month. This cheese is sold as a killer special deal,  and their cheese, in general, is about half the price of the same cheese in Canada. You can imagine what I like to stock up on (along with the lacy chocolate cookies and coconut ribbons-I digress.)

Yesterday I picked up April’s special, Pont L’Eveque. Now, it is May, not April, so I’m really hoping that this cheese is still good. It’s a little risky buying a famous and fragile cheese like this. It’s really a cheese that should be cherished and purchased lovingly from a cheese monger who slices off a morsel, wraps it in cheese paper and passes it to you-but here it is bought in bulk.  Image

Pont L’Eveque is a French cheese made of (in this case) pasteurized cow’s milk. It carries the DOP label (appelation d’origine protegee) so that means it’s the real thing. I confess to being a little confused over whether or not this cheese is normally pasteurized-web sources seem to contradict themselves. However, this Trader Joe’s version is pasteurized, that may have been done to allow sale into the USA-not sure.

It’s a washed rind cheese and one of the very oldest of the French cheeses-and that’s saying something. A famous French poem from the 13th century makes reference to this cheese, so people have been eating and loving this one for a long time.

ImageSome believe it is named after the Norman Abbey monks who first introduced it in the 12th century. Pont l’Eveque was originally called Angelot cheese. It’s also called Moyaux cheese. Why it needs three names is unclear, but you can just interchange them at a dinner party and people will think you are amazing!

Pont L’Eveque looks like a square brie or camembert, except it is a washed rind cheese, so it’s a little yellow and sticky on the outside-not that velvety white. There are small lines running through the rind. The inside is soft and gooey-I have been letting it warm up, unwrapped on my counter for about an hour (please do let your cheese warm up, it’s so much happier if you do!) It’s slightly bulgy and creamy looking on the inside, there are several small eyes throughout the paste.

Now, the smell. I have read a number of accounts describing how stinky this cheese is. People refer to all sorts of bodily odours in comparison to this cheese, and that’s just silly. Anyone who thinks this cheese smells obviously hasn’t eaten a lot of cheese. Yes, it is a washed rind cheese, which means that there are a lot of happy bacteria on the rind (not just inside) so it is a little funky, but don’t be scared off by reports of it’s reek. They are misleading. It’s a nice, pungent little smelling cheese.

ImageHere goes:

Mmmm. Oh, I like it! It tastes like asparagus to me. Isn’t that weird? It’s pretty mild, with that expected hit of ammonia from any washed rind, but it mixes nicely with the creamy, smooth interior. There’s a great balance of salt, and as it’s a rather small cheese there’s a lot of rind to body ratio-so that stronger rind mixes with the creamy interior and gives a great flavour profile. OK, I’m going to say it-it does taste a tiny bit like pee or maybe belly button (these are both guesses, for the record, I actually don’t know what either of those taste like) but there is something a little carnal about this cheese. It has a nice, “I’m alive and you are eating me” sort of taste, but I like that! I don’t want to eat some dead, wimpy sort of cheese.  I might like it even more with a little slice of pear or apple, it is described as a dessert cheese, and I get that.

Funky, gnarly, yummy, cheap.

Go and get some!

Day 93-Asiago D’Allevo-DOP

I am just going to out myself right now.  Today’s cheese, Asiago has a special place in my heart.  It was one of the few non-cheddar cheeses that my family regularly ate while I was growing up.  My mother will still insist that I pick her up some Asiago every time I go to Costco.  Asiago changed the food landscape of my childhood from the banal to the sublime-thank you, Asiago.

The origin of Asiago cheese is ancient and goes back to at least the middle ages, around 1000 years ago in Italy.  It was originally a sheep’s milk cheese but during the fifteenth century, sheep started to be replaced by cattle in the region, and cow’s milk replaced ewe’s milk.  Asiago is now only made from cow milk.

Asiago DOP is a raw cow’s milk cheese made only within officially recognized production areas.  the cheese is named of after the Asiago Plateau, in Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy.  Asiago comes in two varieties: Asiago Pressato made in low-lying pastures, soft with irregular eyes (I haven’t been able to find this one) and Asiago d’Allevo (today’s cheese) which is harder and made from mountain-pasture milk. Both types of Asiago cheese are known as “mountain cheeses” because of their similarity to the Swiss Emmental and the French Comte.

Either type of Asiago DOP, Pressato or d’Allevo, can be made in small mountain dairies or larger factories. The co-operative dairies and the DOP regulations insure the quality of the milk regardless of its exact production area. Raw milk is coagulated then cut and reheated to expel the whey.  After the cheese is put into molds for pressing it receives the DOP stamp in the rind.  After this, the cheese is either brined or salted before being moved into maturing rooms for affinage called  Frescura. The younger Mezzano cheeses are aged a minimum of three months and are relatively pliant and mild, whereas the aged cheeses are called Vecchio or Stravecchio and have a firmer texture and stronger flavour. These cheeses can be grated and are often substituted for Parmigiano.

The Consorzio Tutela Formaggio Asiago,  based in Vicenza, was set up in 1979 to control the quality of Asiago cheese.  This consortium controls the designation, markings and seals on the cheese and insures that they are used correctly.  It also functions to raise awareness of the cheese in Italy and abroad and represents more than forty cheese makers. For the record, why doesn’t every cheese have its own consortium?  These Italians have it right!

The problem with Asiago is that while it is a DOP, or a protected name cheese, it also isn’t.  For some reason the DOP designation does not apply to this cheese when made outside of the European Union.  Thus an awful lot of cheese is being made elsewhere and calling itself Asiago.  Um, Consortium Tutela Formaggio Asiago, get on it!  Do you think the Parmigiano Reggiano consortium would let anyone get away with that bullshit?  Nuh-uh. I notice that my mother’s Costco Asiago says “made in Canada.” And you know what that means?  It means it’s a big fat old fake, I hate that in a cheese!

Well today’s Asiago certainly isn’t a fake, it bears the DOP designation, and no one has the tenacity to fake that. It has a yellow paste with tiny eyes and a thin natural orange rind. It’s quite firm, although it can be cut without crumbling, but just barely.  Mind you, this is the Mezzano version of D’Allevo, so it is younger.  If I forgot this for a couple of months in the fridge it would be time to break out the grater.  It’s a very mild smelling cheese, nothing offensive here.

Here goes…

How strange!  This Asiago changes flavour as you chew it, that’s a first.  Initially it was kind of astringent, then it moved into sweet, then it changed into salt.  How do they do that?  It’s like one of those gob-stoppers with different flavoured layers, except it’s cheese. This is definitely not the fake stuff I have been eating from Costco.  Asiago D’Allevo is crumbly on the palate, it takes a good chew before dispersing.  There is also a fantastic pop rocks like tyrosine crunch in this cheese.  It’s an extremely fascinating eating experience, it almost has Multiple Personalities…another bite, now it tastes like grapes!  Weird.  I like it! Yes, Asiago, little darling, I shall only buy you in DOP version henceforth- you are definitely my slice of cheese.

Day 77-Mizithra DOC

 


A feel a little badly for my review of Kefalotyri yesterday.  I kind of picked on that poor cheese- like a school yard bully roughing up a little kid with no older siblings around to protect it.  Interestingly, Kefalotryi is actually-almost literally , the big brother of today’s cheese- Mizithra, so no bullying today.  Promise.

As we discussed yesterday, Kefalotyri is a traditional Grecian cheese known as a male cheese as it is made with full-fat milk.  Mizithra is the corresponding female cheese, as it is made from the whey of the same cheese-making process.  In fact, Mizithra is considered the ancestor of all whey cheeses, yes, whey!  When I compare it side by side with Kefalotyri, it has 10% less milk fat, so it’s not just the little sister, it’s the skinny little sister.

Like Kefalotyri, Mizithra is a truly ancient cheese, made since at least the 10th century, BC.  Mizithra, also known as Myzithra is a traditional unpasteurized Greek cheese made from sheep, goat or a mixture of sheep and goat’s milk.   Mizithra is mainly produced on the island of Crete but is also made in other regions of Greece, it is DOC protected, so all Mizithra is Mizithra.  Except it isn’t.  The name Mizithra can actually refer to three different types of cheese-actually three different ages and stages of the same cheese.  Mizithra is enjoyed at each developmental age by the local Greeks, although only the oldest age tends to make it to export.

Mizithra is perhaps the simplest cheese in existence.  It is basic cheesemaking at its finest.  Milk-either sheep, goat or a combination is brought to a scald and then curdled with the addition of rennet or whey from a previous batch.  The curdling can even occur with the addition of something acidic, like vinegar or lemon juice.  Once the curds form they are poured into a bag of cheese cloth and then left to drain. Sometimes the whey dripping out is saved to start the next batch of mizithra.

After a few days of dripping, the mizithra has formed into a soft ostrich egg-shaped ball of cheese described as “sweet, fresh and moist.”  The cheese is often sold and eaten at this stage, where it is used as a desert cheese due to it’s mild and sweet taste-like a ricotta.  Or it moves on to the next stage, the raunchy middle age.  At this stage the cheese is rubbed with salt and left to air dry.  The longer it ages, the firmer and saltier it becomes. In the olden days it was placed in little bags of cheesecloth and hanged from the trees near the ocean-apparently imparting an “oceany” taste to the cheese.  I’m unclear if this still occurs, but I like to think that it does. If the cheese is sold and eaten at this age it is both firm and sour  and is known as xynomizithra or sour mizithra.   This stage is described as an “acquired taste” with a “sour tangy flavour” and an “unpleasant smell.” Doesn’t that sound fabulous?

If the Mizithra ages even longer (and let’s hope that’s swaying from a tree in a muslin sack overlooking the Mediterranean)  it becomes extremely hard and salty and is lastly known and sold as anthotyros-this is the sample I have today. Anthotyros is used grated or crumbled over pasta dishes, or eaten plain with bread and olives.

My little half-ostrich egg of anthotyros Mizithra did not appreciate being cut at all. It crumbled into a little cheesy pile and was nearly impossible to slice (see photo below). It’s a bright white-coloured cheese with an almost powdery looking paste.  It doesn’t even look like cheese.  There are no eyes and no discernible rind.  It smells faintly of barn–like there’s a sheep herd about a mile away over the hill.

Here goes…

What the f*ck?  No seriously, what is this?  I don’t think it’s a cheese.  I think it’s  a desiccant. I just popped a chunk into my mouth and all the saliva disappeared.  It’s outrageously salty and barny and dry and weird and awful. How in the world did it last 2000 years? I’m serious! And to think that this is the aged and more generally acceptable version, imagine what sour mizithra tastes like!  Yikes!  Luckily I think you can only get that one in Crete.  I don’t get this cheese at all-unless if grated over a pasta dish it turns into something else entirely-but lots of hard grate-able cheeses also taste good on their own.  Not this one.  Beware!

Day 76-Kefalotyri DOC

What makes a great cheese?  Is it an amazing history?  Is it a flavour that makes the hair stand up on your arms?  Or is it-perhaps-an organized advertising campaign?  Before starting this blog, I would have assumed some combination of the first two- but I am realizing-with some disappointment,  that it’s often the advertising that’s really the key.

Some cheeses, like parmigiano-reggiano and Appenzeller have their own organized advocates who ensure that their good name is well represented in the world, and in the world of cheese.  These amazing consortiums have websites, rules, regulations, and advertising campaigns.  As a result, their cheeses are well-known and dependable.  Other cheeses, like today’s Greek Kefalotyri, seem to be virtually un-championed.

I had an extremely challenging time finding out much about kefalotyri, despite the fact that it has been around since at least the 10th century BC.  Yes, that’s right-this is a Byzantinian cheese.  It is virtually invisible on the ‘net, except as an afterthought or footnote-which is a shame for such a historically important cheese.  Although you may have never heard of the Greek favorite, Kefalotyri (because of lack of advertising, no doubt) you have most likely seen it at Greek restaurants served as the dish, Saganaki.  Saganaki  is made of slices of Kefalotyri covered in egg and bread crumbs and then deep fried and served with lemon.  Yup, deep-fried cheese sticks old school style.  Kefalotyri also sometimes appears in Spanikopita (spinach Pie) instead of Feta-so we are eating this cheese, but it’s far under our radar.

Greeks love their cheese, and they have been eating it arguably longer than anyone else. I was surprised to learn that the Greeks eat more cheese per capita than anyone else in the world-including Italians and French!  Maybe they are too busy eating their cheese to write about it?  Who knows?  It’s all Greek to me.

The name Kefalotyri comes from Greek word “kefalo” that means hat-as the cheese is roughly hat-shaped. Kefalotyri can be made with sheep’s milk, or a combination of sheep and goat.  Either way it is protected by the DOC as a historically important and significant cheese.  Not that anyone appears to care.  It is traditionally made from raw milk, but pasteurized versions also exist.  Kefalotyri is known in Greece as the male cheese as it is made with full-fat milk- as opposed to the female cheeses which are made with whey.   Hmmph.

I have been unable to determine exactly where this cheese is made.  Is it industrial?  Is it farm-made?  No one’s talking.  Regardless, the milk is heated, curdled, and packed into molds.  When it comes out of the molds Kefalotyri is salted, which acts to preserve the cheese and allow it to become firmer.  The cheese ages for three to four months before it is sold. A layer of paraffin is applied to the aged cheese to protect it from drying.

Apparently the appearance of kefalotyri varies throughout the year depending on the ratio of sheep to goat’s milk being used.  There are no hard and fast rules, it’s kind of however it all works out. At some times of the year, kefalotyri is white, and other seasons it is yellow. In either case, this is a very hard cheese which gets firmer as it ages, forming small interior eyes in the cheese paste.

My little slice of Kefalotyri is full of mystery and legendary tales-if only it could speak!  It’s a wan, almost white cheese, so it’s probably more goat, and less sheep.  It’s a firm looking cheese with tiny eyes, I can’t see any rind, or paraffin, but maybe that’s was removed at the cheese shop.  The smell is very mild, I don’t get any hint of sheep or goat, and would swear this was a cow cheese.  Except it isn’t.

Here goes…

Ah, but it is a goat and sheep cheese.  That’s now obvious.  It’s incredibly salty-the saltiest cheese yet.   That makes it challenging to really get to the flavour-except that the goat and sheep tang is also quite predominant. The salt is really over the top. I get that it was historically needed as a preservative, but dial it back a little, people!  Maybe it’s also white from all the salt. The texture isn’t really doing anything for me either-it’s quite firm, and refuses to melt in my mouth, it just sits there on my tongue, like a salt lozenge made of goat. Yuck!

OK, Kefalotyri, I have to respect your history, despite your heinous lack of internet presence, (and taste) neither of which is really your fault.  Although this isn’t my slice of cheese, I do think it needs a cheese champion.  If any Greeks are reading, maybe this is your golden opportunity!

day 69-Gorgonzola Naturale

 

I’m happy to report that my fridge is working- all the cheese appears to have made it. That’s a relief!  I’m still feeling a little blue about yesterday’s Roquefort.  I felt so much anticipation for that cheese.  Truly one of the world’s great cheeses-but I just couldn’t stomach it.  At times I feel torn between my love of the story of a cheese, and my stubborn taste buds’ refusal to yield to its purported deliciousness.  However, in the end, I must be true to my tongue.  Hence, I am also feeling uneasy about the third in my blue triumvirate- Gorgonzola.  If a cheese could threaten by name alone, it would be this one. I mean really, Gorgonzola?  Will it turn me to stone if I don’t like it?

Gorgonzola is an Italian blue cheese made of either cow or goat milk-mine today is the more common cow.  It’s another legendary and ancient cheese-at least 1200 years old. Gorgonzola is produced in the Piedmonte and  Lombardy regions in Italy, and originally came from the town of Gorgonzola. This town was a resting place for shepherds and their herds during the summer.  While chilling out in Gorgonzola they needed to figure out what to do with all the extra milk. A strain of Penicillum Glaucum mould naturally occurring in the area was discovered.  By happy coincidence it seemed to be just what they were looking for to put that zip in their excess milk.  Thus,  Stilton and Roquefort share the same mould, but Gorgonzola has its own.

Like Roquefort, Gorgonzola also has its own shepherd-based origin legend. A distracted and love-struck young shepherd left some moist cheese curd hanging from a damp cave at night.  When he realized his heinous error he tried to cover up by adding this curd to the next day’s batch of cheese.  Weeks later, when he checked the cheese-something weird had happened.  It was all green and mouldy inside, but being in love and intrepid, he tried it, and liked it!  Which is definitive proof that caves, cheese, and distracted shepherds can lead to all sorts of delightful hijinks.

People loved this um, enhanced cheese more than the plain old cheese they had been eating, and the tradition began.  Today there are about 40 producers of Gorgonzola, most of it is factory produced.  Gorgonzola comes in two varieties: Dolce and Naturale. The Dolce (sweet) is a  younger version developed chiefly for export after WW2.  Old school Gorgonzola is the Naturale (natural) or mountain.  This is the stronger and more aged version.  It can be made from either raw or pasteurized milk. After the young Gorgonzola has aged for about a month, it is pierced with copper needles-this allows for the air and bacteria to work their magic deep into the cheese body. The cheese is then wrapped in foil to retain moisture and goes on for another 3-6 months of aging.  Unlike humans, Gorgonzola gets firmer as it ripens.

Gorgonzola is a protected name and cheese.  Gorgonzola, Parmesan and Roquefort are the only three cheeses that qualify for this status under the Stresa Convention of 1951. By law Gorgonzola is only produced in a defined area and under the watchful eye of the Consorzio per la tutela del formaggio Gorgonzola.  This consortium was formed in 1970 and safeguards the interest of the cheese and the cheese brand.

My lovely looking slice of Gorgonzola has been keeping me company here as I write.  The paste is a creamy almost translucent white with dark blue/green veins where it was pierced with needles, as well as little splotches of green that occurred all on their own.  It’s not as “blue” looking as yesterday’s Roquefort, and looks quite creamy.  The rind is a thin brownish orange, visible after I peeled back the foil. The smell is relatively mild, it doesn’t reek-really it just smells quite inviting-in a raunchy sort of way.

Here goes…

Spicey, sweet, salty, raunchy-it sounds like a porn star!  Appropriate for my cheese number 69. It’s a sexy cheese, but is actually way milder than I was expecting.  It lacks that “eau de vomit” I experienced with Roquefort. It’s delightfully creamy, not crumbly at all-it would be a challenge to break this cheese up for a salad.  It’s begging for a risotto or a sauce, or some pears, or some close friends.  It’s a well-balanced blue.  The salt is there, but it’s not overpowering the cheese.  The sweet is also dominant, but it’s all wrapped up with a hint of something a little carnal I can’t quite put my finger on.  I like it!  Thank you, lovestruck and distracted Italian shepherd boy.  Bravo.