Cheese 137 Mopsy’s Best-a Raw Milk Sheep’s Cheese

One of the great things about being obsessed with cheese, is that people tend to send me cheese tidbits. Alas, not edible cheese tidbits, but links, stories and photos of cheese. Last week a friend sent me a story about extinct words of the English language, including tyromancy. Tyromancy is the art of  divining the future through cheese!  How in the world did this work? Was it like reading tea leaves, only with cheese curd? Were all cheese types involved, or was there a special, powerful cheese used for this purpose? Most importantly, why did tyromancy die out?  Today, here, on “My Blog of Cheese”  I declare the return of tyromancy: I gaze deeply into a beautiful sheep’s milk cheese, and this is what I see…

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Sheep’s milk (sometimes known as ewe’s milk) cheese, is a very special cheese to me. It has a wonderful barny taste, but more than that, ancient cheese munching shepherds were not herding cows, they were herding sheep. Thus it just feels right to me to eat sheep’s cheese, I feel somehow that I’m getting closer to what cheese really is supposed to be. Plus, sheep have tiny little udders, so they really have to work a lot to make milk, and I also appreciate that. It’s good for so many reasons.

On my recent road trip to Washington state, the cheese monger I spoke to recommended that I try today’s cheese, “Mopsy’s Best.” “Oh you must, try it,” she said, “It’s a local, raw milk,  sheep’s cheese.” And really, local, raw or sheep alone would have been enough for me, but the three together is like a cheese yahtzee.

Mopsy’s Best comes to us from the Black Sheep Creamery, and I urge you to visit their website, as it is fantastic and full of great sheep pictures, and who doesn’t like that? The folk at Black Sheep craft their sheep milk cheeses on their farmstead from the milk of their own flock of Rideau-Arcott and East Friesian sheep who graze near Chehalis, Washington- as well as additional milk from the Tin Willows Farm in Eastern Oregon. In case you forgot, my name is also Willow, see: tyromancy at work! Let’s call this a “Cascadian” terroir” as they are mixing milk from 2 states, but it’s all coastal, so it’s all good.

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This cheese appears to be a family run affair. They got their first three sheep in 2000 when their second child had a sensitivity to cow milk, but was able to tolerate sheep milk, (can I just comment here on this being really exemplary parenting, most people would just score some soy milk from the store, but these people went out and bought sheep.) One of their first ewes was  ‘Mopsy” (who now does her best.) One thing lead to another, and  they have been making and selling cheese since about 2005.

Mopsy’s Best is a semi-firm raw cheese aged at least three months. Sheep’s milk has more butterfat and protein than goat and cow milk, and this helps to give it that complex flavour I’m so crazy about. The fact that the milk for Mopsy’s Best has not been pasteurized means that the flavour is more complex yet, as the milk is able to fully develop without any pasteurization getting in the way.  My little wedge of Mopsy’s Best is a firm medium yellow cheese. It has a natural brown rind with a cheese cloth pattern in evidence. The colour is darker closer to the rind, and there are some small eyes in the cheese paste. The smell is rich and barnyardy (is that a word?) It smells sweet and kind of funky, but mild over all. I can’t wait.

Here goes…

How interesting! It changes flavour as you chew it. Initially it’s a round salty sheep taste, but then a hint of caramel emerges. Crazy! The paste has a really interesting texture, it kind of falls apart in your mouth, like it gives up the game the second it touches your tongue, and then it just kind of dissolves into this cream…wait, now it tastes earthy, and closer to the rind it gets more intense with the hit of mushroom funky fungus taste that I dig.

It’s sweet, salty, funky, sheepy and crazy good. My skills of tyromancy tell me that there’s a great future for this little cheese, bravo, Black Sheep Creamery.IMG_2570

 

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Cheese 136 Blue Mountain Blue

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It’s rare that a cheese is also a palindrome: Blue Mountain Blue. OK, I guess it’s not technically a palindrome, but it practically is, and that is a very special thing in a cheese.

Another really special thing in a cheese, is when a cheese monger personally recommends it. I recently made a road trip to Seattle, Washington and visited the charming Calf and Kid cheese shop. It’s always such a thrill for me to find a brand new cheese shop, and I was lucky enough to bring home three local Washington cheeses all recommended by the staff there.

The first of these is the new hot cheese in the shop this month, Blue Mountain Blue. The cheese monger told me it’s fantastic and has been selling like crazy. Honestly, she had me at “Blue.”  Blue Mountain Blue is a new blue-veined cave matured cheese from the eponymous Blue Mountain Blue Cheese company from Walla Walla (another almost Palindrome!) in Washington State.

According to their website,  (which you must go and see, it’s beautifully done) Blue Mountain Blue debuted on 4 July 2013, so it’s practically a cheese newborn. It’s made from the raw milk of a small herd of Irish Shorthorn-Holstein cross dairy cows. The herd is lead by a cow named  Old Blue. Old Blue and her sisters cows graze on natural  stands of lush grasses, and are solely pasture-fed, establishing the terroir of the cheese. I do love it when a cheese is named after a cow, Blossom’s Blue from Saltstpring Island is also named after a cow, and there’s something lovely about that. In fact, I recommend more cheeses be named after cows.

Blue Mountain Blue is a raw milk cheese made with natural rennet. After being formed, the cheese curd is sliced with a special multiple-blade knife.  Sea salt is sprinkled into the cubed curds which are stirred to break down their size further. A “proprietary complex of several strains of Penicillium roqueforti”  is introduced into the curd with stainless-steel needles, creating pathways which permit air (and mould spore) to get into the interior of the cheese. The cheese develops its veining for 120 days, then the rounds are transported to a solid-basalt cave in the Blue Mountain range above the Walla Walla Valley to continue their affinage over 12 months. Wow, a solid basalt cave. I would like to see that with my own eyes.
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This all sounds fantastic to me: 12 month affinage, raw milk, great terroir, happy cows, solid basalt caves, a cheese named after cows, a swanky website, and a proprietary mould….

But what about the cheese?

Well, this cheese is an attractive  blue cheese. It has a nice creamy yellow looking paste shot through with light blue and green mould, but there’s still a lot of creamy looking paste there. You can clearly see where the stainless needles pierced the cheese as the veining develops along those lines. There’s no discernable rind. The smell is gentle, yet absolutely divine. I’m drooling a little as I type, you can smell that cheesy blue aroma with just a hint of alcohol.

Here goes…

Mmmmmm. smooth, creamy, salty, round and spicy. It’s very much like a Stilton, but a little more salty. Actually there are chunks of sea salt in it that are just sumptuous and kind of crunchy. But it’s got a sweetness from that raw cow milk that helps keep the spice of the blue in balance. Really, it’s fabulous, very nice and very approachable for a blue. It’s so well-balanced and not overly aggressive that it should be welcome on any cheese plate.
Great job, Blue Mountain Blue, I can’t wait to see what you are up to next!
Yummy, it’s Yummy.
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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 128 Isle of Mull Cheddar

I recently asked one of my favourite cheese sellers to name his favourite cheese. I realize that this is a cruel question. People ask me this cruel question all the time, and you might as well ask me who my favourite child is, it’s just wrong. Instead, ask me what my favourite washed rind cheese is, or my favourite mountain cheese, or perhaps, my most beloved cheddar.Still challenging, but much more realistic.

However, my cheese seller, when pressed (that’s a cheese pun) admitted to one favourite and that favourite is today’s cheese, “Isle of Mull Cheddar.” It’s taken me quite a while to track some down, as this is a very rare and precious cheese, but for you, readers, and for cheese, I will do just about anything.

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Isle of Mull cheddar is made by one family only, the Reades. They are the only family with a dairy herd on the Scottish Isle of Mull, which lies along the coastline of west Scotland. The island is quite “wee” with a population of no more than 3000. Proprietors Jeff and Chris Reade have been making cheese here since 1979. Their cheese is made from the milk of their own herd of cows, and due to the small area of the island, this milk is very affected by terroir-limited grain, and limited grass. To supplement the available food, these cows are fed the “spent grain husks” from the nearby whisky distillery, which is added to their feed (lucky cows). Apparently, this adds a slightly yeasty and perhaps alcoholic tang to this cheese. Wow! I mean, most of us have heard of wine and cheese, but this is the first whiskey IN cheese I have run across.

This is a relatively young cheddar, aged about 18 months, and it’s wrapped in cloth. Can I just say here  how mad I am for a cloth-wrapped cheese? I believe this is only my third cloth-wrapped cheese in the over 130 I have reviewed. Maybe I’m sentimental for the days of yore when more cheeses were wrapped, or maybe it’s that  funky smell the cloth gets when the bacteria move in, but I really give extra bonus points for this. More cloth please, cheese-makers of the world!

OK enough waxing on, now a word of warning. This is not a cheap cheese. Do you see this slice? Yes, it’s a tall slice, but it cost $8.00 here in Canada. That’s kind of crazy. It is a raw milk cheese (I’m not sure if it’s organic, it doesn’t say) and yes, it comes all the way from a wee Scottish Island where the cows drank spent grain husks all day, but this is one of the priciest cheeses I have sampled to date. Don’t grate this cheddar into your mac and cheese!  SAVE  IT FOR A RAINY DAY AND A GOOD FRIEND.

 

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First, this is a handsome cheese, that’s the best way to describe it. It’s an old-fashioned cheddar, with a creamy coloured paste but it’s very pale-much more pale than most other cheddars, and darker as it approaches the rind which I am thrilled to say is wrapped in cloth (don’t eat that part, for heaven’s sake.) You can see the texture of the cheddaring in the paste, a little pattern of pressed curds with tiny cracks. It’s a firm cheese, but a little moist, it’s not crumbling like some cheddars. The smell is crazy! I can actually smell whiskey in this cheese, I kid you not, these cows must have been truly “lit” as we say here in Canada. I know human moms who are breast-feeding aren’t supposed to drink as the alcohol passes on through the milk…that’s what has happened here folks. I can absolutely smell booze in this cheese, it’s so interesting!  Talk about terroir.

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Now the tasting-it’s so complex! It’s actually really hard to explain. The texture is a nice cheddary chew, yes, no crunch, but the taste. It’s meaty, salty, boozy. There’s no tang that I sometimes taste in cheddar, that tang is replaced by an alcohol note. It’s not sweet either, despite it being a raw cheddar. It’s fruity, but without any sweet, like a savoury fruit. It’s completely unlike any cheddar I have ever tasted.It’s funky and yeasty and aggressive. It’s boozy and sexy and weird. I don’t even know that this is cheddar, I don’t even know what it is, it’s kind of out of this world.

Wow, Isle of Mull Cheddar, I think, for once, I’m kind of speechless, or maybe I’m just drunk from eating you. Crazy!

Cheese 123-Louis d’Or Vieille

 

It’s getting harder these days to really excite me about a new cheese. I’m perhaps a little jaded, 123 cheeses into this strange little foray of mine…but yesterday-my heart stopped.  While at my local cheese shop looking for something “sexy, Canadian, and hard” (yes, those were my criteria, don’t laugh) my eyes fell upon something I had somehow missed before.  It was a large handsome cheese: hard, firm, Canadian…organic, unpasteurized, and a gold medal winner…breathing harder, yes…this is the cheese I have been looking for, and it was right under my nose.

You see, it turns out that I really am mad for Canadian cheese-all things being equal-which they aren’t, of course.  To find a great cheese made in my homeland just seems right.  There’s supporting your fellow Canadians, then’s there’s the carbon footprint, et cetera, but really, why not eat Canadian cheese?  Especially when Canadians are so damn good at making damn good cheese, especially the French-why?  Why is it always Quebec?  This is a great mystery to me.

I digress.  Today’s handsome (and hard and Canadian, I did mention that, right) cheese is a Comte look alike (and I love me some Comte) made by the Quebecois Fromagerie du Presbytere.  It’s a cow’s milk cheese made with organic milk right on the farm.   It’s rare to find such a large Mountain Style cheese made here in Canada as it takes quite a commitment to make and then store a cheese of this size. I reviewed another cheese by this groovy fromagerie back in my early cheese days-Laliberte which was an unctuous and yummy triple cream brie, but today’s cheese is their eponymous headliner-and I tend to think that when something is eponymous, it’s really special!

I’m kind of stealing this next bit from my old review, but it just bears repeating, and it’s not theft if it’s from yourself. “The farm of Louis d’or, is a family run company operated by four generations of the Morin family.  Even better, it’s  artisanal, family owned, and organic.  This family turned to organic farming in the 1980′s, which makes them early adopters.   The farm has a herd of Holstein and Jersey cows which graze in the organic pastures of clover, timothy grass, bluegrass and other organic grains. These cows are never given antibiotics or hormones. In 2005 this Morin family decided to remodel an old church rectory called Sainte-Élizabeth de Warwick. It was located just in front of their farm.  All their cheese is now made in this refurbished building and the family only makes artisanal organic certified cheese. Wow, this is sounding like an ad for this fromagerie.  But come on, a refurbished cheese rectory.”

This beautiful cheese is remarkable for its size- it’s made in 40 KG wheels, and has a washed rind and a firm pressed cooked paste.  It is made from raw milk, so pregnant ladies we warned! Typically this cheese is served at the 9 month age-and this is the one that won all the prizes, but my little sample is the Vieille or aged and is 18 months old.  Yes, be jealous of me, that’s perfectly understandable. Louis D’Or (at the 9 month age) is a big winner taking the 2011 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix Grand Champion as well as best in class in firm cheese, farmhouse cheese, organic cheese too, and the American Cheese Society best of show third place, along with numerous other awards.   Are you impressed yet?  How can we ask for more?  It’s an award winning  family made cheese based on happy organic cows and a refurbished rectory.  I’m sold.

 


My long slice of Louis d’or Vieille which from the sounds of it I was lucky to find-due to the popularity of this cheese, is an attractive creamy yellow with a dark brown natural rind.  I see other reviews referencing eyes in this cheese, but my sample does not contain them…mine is also the 18 month version, so I am unclear if this is the cause.  It appears as though there is some crystallization or tyrosine throughout the paste-which makes me crazy with desire…I love me some tyrosine!  It smells wonderful, nutty and deep and really for all the world like a Comte.  It’s a mellow and mature cheese, it’s begging me to enter into a conversation with it…and I shall.

Here goes…

There’s so much going on here, I don’t even know where to start. First, it’s floral, and sweet, I’m so shocked!  It’s very mellow and round, but ultimately very, very sweet and benign more like a great Gruyere than anything else.  There are no sharp or uric notes whatsoever, it’s just totally mellowed out, it’s like a Zen master of cheese. Sweet, round, mellow, pleased with itself and the balance it has achieved in this world.  The texture is fabulous, it’s firm to the teeth, but enjoys a little chew before dissolving into a sweet milky paste-there’s a faint fleck or tyrosine, but that’s not the show stopper here-the show stopper is the taste, it’s really unlike anything I have ever tasted before, it’s clover, sunshine, friendship and happiness. It’s a revelation in cheese.  Unlike many cheeses this one should be eaten by itself, with nothing else-it’s cheese in the purest form: complex, developed, wise, sumptuous.  If you can get your hands on this cheese, do it, you can thank me later.

Holy Hannah Louis D’Or, you are most definitely my slice of cheese, bravo!

 

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 111-Rathtrevor

If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time you may have noticed that I sometimes struggle with an existential cheese angst.  It’s true, there are almost infinite varieties of cheese to write about, but to what end?  Now that I can confidently wander through any cheese counter in any country perhaps that’s enough. But perhaps not.  You see, maybe there’s “that cheese”out there still waiting for me, that mythic, amazing cheese that will transport me to another world.  Thus, I continue to look and snack.  My teenaged French exchange student is bemused by my obsession with cheese.  It seems as though I live in the wrong country. She can’t believe that I do not have a dedicated cheese fridge, similar to a beer fridge.  Apparently this is how it is done in France. Maybe this is proof that I still have more to learn.

At this point, I am waiting for cheese to speak too me, and this one-Rathtrevor- has been calling my name for a while.  I previously reviewed this company, Little Qualicum Cheeseworks from Vancouver Island, and discussed their charming farm-Morningstar at  https://myblogofcheese.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/day-99-island-brie/ as well as their Brie cheese, but Rathtrevor, keeps trying to get my attention.  A friend of mine questioned my choice of  Island Brie to review, which was just another brie to herwhereas their Rathrevor: “freaking heaven.” Then last week, I was at the Winter Farmer’s Market at Nat Bailey stadium in Vancouver with my French student and daughter-when a lovely man stopped the three of us and took a photo of us with his iPad.  When I looked down from smiling I saw a stack of cheese…Little Qualicum cheese…Rathtrevor cheese.  If this wasn’t a sign that this was meant to be, I don’t know what is, so cheese Gods, I am listening.

I shan’t reiterate my review of their farm and fromagerie, follow the link above if you want to know more, but in a nutshell… this is a groovy family who lived in Switzerland, learned how to make cheese, moved to Vancouver Island and made awesome cheese there which is certified by the SPCA.  This means it has good cheese Karma on top of everything else. Unlike their Island Brie, Rathrevor is made from raw milk, which I do appreciate, being a raw milk girl. It’s named after a local beach in Parksville, Rathtrevor, where I have frolicked with my children-so just more proof this cheese needed me to eat it.

Rathtrevor is a Gruyere-type cheese, I appreciate that they don’t call it Gruyère, but instead give it their own local name and twist which is, I feel a respectful homage to a great cheese.  Rathtrevor is aged for about a year and is made using milk from their own herd of Holstein, Ayrshire, Brown Swiss and Canadienne dairy cows. Rathtrevor is a raw milk firm, aged, washed-rind cheese.  I really do love me some Gruyère, months ago a cave aged Gruyère nearly sent me over the edge of cheese joy, so Rathtrevor has some big cheese shoes to fill!

My block of Rathrevor, which is also available in many stores, but much more fun to purchase from the family-is a firm, buttery looking cheese.  Although it claims to be “washed rind” I see no evidence of rind, washed or otherwise, and this saddens me a little.  I understand that we are not accustomed to rind here in Canada-land, but that’s only because people keep treating us like babies.  It’s like cutting crust off toast, don’t do it!  That’s the yummy part, sigh.  I digress.  It’s a handsome Mountain cheese with the tiniest little eyes running through the interior in spots.  Although it’s an aged Gruyere-type cheese I do not see evidence of tyrosine crystals which often look like little white dots in the cheese, alas. This cheese smells very mild and nutty, quite safe-a cheese wimp would not be frightened of by this benign looking and smelling cheese in the least, I might even be able to give it to a child!

Here goes…

Much less benign tasting! Mmmm, I actually really dig this cheese!  It’s quite an intense mushroomy, nutty cheese.  Yes, it’s similar to Gruyère,, but this
 isn’t Gruyere, it’s much softer with a more tensile chew to it, not crumbly at all.  It’s just mmmm, I don’t really know what it is, but I seriously dig this cheese, it has that balance that I always look for but I rarely find: sweet, salt and underarm. There’s also that unmistakable Mountain cheese faint alcohol note in this cheese, but I don’t mind it here, no not at all.  You could use this cheese in just about anything, but as for me, it’s going into my personal snacking stash…you know why?  It’s because Rathtrevor is definitely my slice of cheese.