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 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!

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 118-Blue Capri

 

Many people have strong feelings about goat’s milk and goat’s milk cheese.  This is for good reason.  Everything touched by a goat tastes like it was-well, touched by a goat! I have a strong sense-memory of being a hippie child (if you haven’t already, go out and buy my book “Adult Child of Hippies” please, be a darling), and eating goat’s milk products-which were horrible. Goats and hippies go together like Brie and baguette, and you could depend upon that barny hoof-taste being in just about anything.  How I wish I was lying! I have a specific memory of eating goat’s-milk pancakes with carob chips that will stain my sense memories indelibly.  I share this with you not to disrespect goats, but to show you how far I have come.  I am a goat-convert, you see, but it’s taken almost 40 years-so don’t just dismiss goat products.  Yes, they taste weird, but that’s actually the charm.

As I not only adore (these days) goat’s cheese, but also adore (these days) blue cheese, imagine my great joy to discover the two existing in the same cheese!  A cheese Yahtzee! I was at the Trout Lake farmer’s Market last Saturday-this is in East Vancouver for you non-locals-when a lovely lady in a booth beckoned me to taste her cheese!  How could I resist?  Although not the head cheese-maker, she told me that she had helped out with this batch, and that’s just about as good as it gets to me.  There’s something about looking into the eyes of the cheesemaker that sends shivers down my spine.  Yes, I’m that kind of weird!

I have, in fact-reviewed this “Goat’s Pride Dairy” before on cheese 96 “Chevrotina.”  Alas, I was not overly impressed-but concluded that that specific cheese was a little young and that it was my fault…and that I would be back, so here I am. I keep my promises to cheese.  To save you the trouble of searching, and me the trouble of re-writing, here’s a little snippet of the history from that post to give us some context.

“The certified organic “Goat’s Pride” Dairy is found  in Abbotsford, BC. It’s the first Certified Organic goat dairy in western Canada.  This local company has been making cheese for the past six years. In addition to cheese, Goat’s Pride farm offers tours for groups of 12 or more with activities including  goat education, cheese tasting, and goat milking demonstration.  This farm tour offering seems to be on trend with local fromageries.  One suspects it must be challenging to deal with goats, cheese making, and tourists simultaneously.

Goat’s Pride is a family owned farm. Peter and Jo-Ann Dykstra and their children do it all.  They keep their goat-herd and their fromagerie on the same property, so it’s all very cozy. The goats have access to roam outside when it is sunny, and they can wander freely on the farm’s 20 acres of bush, snacking to their little goat hearts content. Their pens are large, and roomy, and this whole set up seems very goat positive. The goats here are fed organic grain, hay and alfalfa. They  use no hormones, and will use antibiotics only under duress-preferring to use herbal or homeopathic remedies, and that’s a first, homeopathics for goats!  Wow. Most of the milk comes from their farm although they do occasionally source milk from another organic goat farm in Chilliwack.”

…So, today’s cheese is their “Blue Capri” which the label states is their “award-winning Blue cheese,” “a perfect well-aged Roquefort.” Of course, as we all know, Roquefort is made from sheep’s milk, not goat’s.  The most famous blue goat’s cheese is Gorgonzola-so that has me a little confused, but let’s not get stuck on semantics. I’m also not sure how it’s “award-winning” the website doesn’t clarify, but there is a picture of the cheese with a blue ribbon on it, again, let’s not get stuck on semantics.  The bottom line is this is an organic goat’s cheese from a local cheese maker-and I got to look the maker’s helper in the eye, so really, I’m happy, and really, that’s what this blog is all about.


My little wedge of Blue Capri certified organic goat’s milk “Roquefort” is mostly white with a small amount of veining.  It crumbled when I took it out of the package, it’s a fragile cheese and a little moist.  There’s no discernible rind, I think it’s been cut off-pity.  It’s fragrant, a bouquet of goat-hoof and piquant erzats-vomit that I love so much in a good blue cheese.  And for the record, I say this is the most positive way-all Roquefort cheese contains the same enzyme as vomit-as does  parmigiano-reggiano  it’s a good thing, not a bad thing, get over it!  My mouth waters in anticipation…goat, plus mould! Wowzers!

Here goes…

Mmmmmmm.  Oh, super fantastic yummy!  But make no mistake, this is a gorgonzola to my taste buds, not sure why they call it a Roquefort!  It’s spicy, salty, raunchy, creamy and intense.  It has that bite of the blue then that peppery kick of the goat’s hoof.  There’s nothing subtle about Blue Capri, it’s a fantastic punch in the face.  It’s bright, intense and shakes your taste buds out of their slumber.  That being said-it’s a well-balanced cheese, all of the different elements are in equal strength, so that taste profile is just perfectly balanced.   Warning, this is no starter cheese.  This one would just about kill my husband who can’t handle a blue or a goat’s cheese, so you know what that means-this one is mine, all mine! You hit this one out of the ballpark, Goat’s Pride, I’m proud of you, you, yes you, are my slice of cheese!

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 109- Danish Blue Cheese AKA Danablu-Castello Rosenborg

This blog has been threatened by a number of factors over the last several months: travel, a broken fridge, cost,and  a head cold, but nothing has truly put it to the test like this week’s foible: a cleanse.  A cleanse is a sort of masochistic eating regime hypothetically created to cleanse the body of toxins.  In reality, I suspect many folks-along with myself, indulge in a cleanse in order to shed some excess weight.  The rules of this cleanse are easy-peasy: if it’s something that’s yummy, you can’t have it, if it’s something that’s gross, go for it!  Luckily it’s only 7 days and I am half way through, but let me be clear: cheese is absolutely not permitted on this cleanse.  So what’s a turophile with a weekly cheese blog to do?  Here it is, I’m breaking the cleanse just for you, gentle reader-that’s how much I care.  Hopefully my cleansed body won’t go into shock.

What better way to break a cheese fast than with a blue cheese!  I do adore me some blue, and have thus far  sampled the big three, Stilton (yum) Gorgonzola (a little less yum) and Roquefort (not really that much yum at all) and it has come to my attention that there is another big player in the Blue cheese scene, and that is “Danish Blue” aka Danablu.  There are several cheese makers claiming to make a “Danish Blue” but the largest and most established by far is the Danish Arla cheese company and its so-called House of Castello Rosenborg.  Castello (Arla) actually makes several blue cheeses, but their big player is Danish Blue Cheese.  Chances are you have already tasted this cheese, it’s that blue on the cheese plate at all those art gallery openings you attend.  This little darling can be purchased just about anywhere in Canada and is truly the most ubiquitous blue on our shores-despite being Danish.

Castello has been making cheese in Denmark since 1893, when Rasmus Tholstrup, decided to dedicate his life to cheese making-and who can blame him for that!  His son Henrik, grew up to share his passion for cheese, a clear sign of good parenting.  Henrik Tholstrup took the family dairy from a small producer to a big player on the cheese scene. In 1958 Henrik bought several dairies in Denmark and production skyrocketed.  Castello was acquired by Danish cheese giant Arla in 2006, and is now the biggest maker of imported blue cheese in North America. Go Denmark!  The name Rosenborg actually has nothing to do with the cheese.  It refers to the Royal Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen, built in the 17th century by King Christian IV.  A picture of this castle is on the label for the cheese, but alas, this cheese did not spend any time in the castle, or its dungeons, it’s just a pretty picture. Sigh.  Castello-Rosenborg Danish Blue Cheese is really a big player in Blue cheese scene, have I mentioned this?  It is the winner of 33 International cheese awards.  That’s right, 33.

So why in the world is the top selling Blue cheese in North America from Denmark and not from France, the home of Blue cheese?  Good question.  In the 1920s, a Dane named Marius Boel discovered an innovation to improve the taste of classic French sheep’s milk blue cheese Roquefort, by substituting cow milk for sheep’s milk. The result was a creamier, richer, and fuller flavored cheese- Danish Blue, basically a Roquefort made from cow’s milk.  It’s also easier to make, cows produce a lot more milk than sheep do.   Danish Blue cheese was first manufactured in 1927.  This blue cheese is inoculated with Penicillum Roqueforti, and is made from whole pasteurized cow’s milk.  the Blue culture is added right into the cheese milk. Like other blues the culture requires a lot of oxygen to develop correctly, thus the cheeses are pierced with stainless steel needles, which leave a large number of air ducts.When you cut open this cheese you can see the blue lines running through the paste where it was pierced.   The culture develops from the inside towards the surface of the cheese. After approximately one month, the cheese is ripe and ready to go.

My Danish Blue Castello Rosenborg came in a sealed plastic triangle container. It’s a very white cheese shot through with blue lines as well as little blue clusters in the interior paste where the mould developed on its own.  There is no discernible rind to my eyes.  The cheese is piquant in odour and smells somewhat of vomit.  Now, don’t be upset by that, as I have discussed in a previous post this cheese does contain the same enzyme as vomit so the similarity is no coincidence.  I am reminded that shepherds used to pack infected wounds with Roquefort as the penicillium mould actually works to prevent infection. I just think that’s such a helpful fact,  I am repeating it here, in case the apocalypse occurs and you haven’t stocked up on penicillium but you do have some Roquefort of Danish Blue around.  I digress.

Here goes…

Mmmmm.  Damn, this really is a good cheese.  Maybe it’s because it’s so familiar, it really is “that blue” that you have had a million times on a million cheese plates.  It’s really creamy and a perfect balance of salt, umami, vomit and sweet.  It’s raunchy and sexy and I like that in a cheese!  The paste is even throughout, as there is no rind you just eat it all.  I would like to smear this cheese on something, but as I am forbidden grains on this cleanse I will pass.  OK, this cheese rocks, it’s also available almost everywhere and relatively cheap, so go for it, it’s a great starter blue and to my taste buds, an improvement over the original Roquefort which I just couldn’t get behind.

Danablu, Danish Blue, Castello Rosenborg, Arla, whatever you are called, you are welcome back anytime you little raunchy darling, you are definitely 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!