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Sunday, July 4, 2010

Caveman Blue is Good Food. Seriously.

Cheese is a basic food. It really is. Of course there are different ways to classify cheese: industrial, commodity, specialty, artisan, farmstead,and others terms that exists now and are will be created in the future. At it's core though, cheese is a basic, primitive food.

Cheese is milk that has"gone bad" in a controlled environment. It can be made with very few ingredients. All you need is milk, salt and a coagulant. You can make cheese with lemon juice, buttermilk, animal rennet, synthetic or true vegetarian rennet. It amazes me that all the same ingredients can be manipulated into so many delicious ways.

A great example of taking just a few ingredients and turning it into a variety of products comes to us from Rogue Creamery in Oregon. In addition to a few other cheeses, they make a slew of different blue cheeses, each with their own distinctive flavor profile.

Seasonally made Rogue River Blue is one of the most anticipated cheeses on the scene. Wrapped in grape leaves that have been soaked in pear brandy this cheese is moist and supple with earthy and tree fruit flavors.

Echo Mountain is one of my favorite blues in all of the cheesey kingdom. Earthy with a slight tang brought about by the blending of cow and goat milk make this a complex, subtle, salty piece of heaven.

Then of course is their newest cheese: Caveman Blue. Aged up until one year this cheese is a bit like eating butter. A compound butter made with vanilla. That sounds like such a passive way of describing this cheese. Saute some bacon in a pan. Drain most of the bacon fat and put it in a glass jar in your fridge for use later on down the line. Then take a grass-fed beef patty and cook it up in that wee bit of bacon fat. Put that patty on a toasted hamburger bun that had VT Butter and Cheese Creamery cultured butter with sea salt on it and eat it outside after mowing the lawn. That's a much better way to describe what's going on in this cheese.

Beefy, salty, grassy and buttery with a whiff of bacon. There's also a bit of sweetness to the milk, but I couldn't think of how to add that to the hamburger description. This cheese is obscene. Another fantastic addition to a great line! Don't be jealous Echo Mountain, you're still my favorite.