Showing posts with label Grayson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Grayson. Show all posts

Monday, March 7, 2011


It's official! I left my job, packed up the apartment and moved back to Vermont. I've been in town for just a few days and I thought it was about time I checked in with everyone.

One of the things I loved best about working in the cheese shop was I had fantastic cheese at my fingertips every single day. The negative was that even though I got an employee discount, I ended up blowing a lot of my income on cheese.

A little while back (pre-Vermont move) I splurged on some nummies to share with some friends. Today we're talking about Grayson (wedge with deep russet coloring) and a brand new cheese Mini-Grayson (isosceles triangle in the front)

Both cheeses come to us from Meadow Creek Dairy in Virginia. In fact, I wrote a post about Grayson here if you want to check it out.

Grayson comes in a large 4# format, is made of raw cows' milk and bathed in a brine solution. The wheels have developed a strong, mammalian odor mixed with hay and barn stall. Mini Grayson on the other hand is a wee little thing coming in at about 1# per wheel. The other big factor in this cheese is that it is washed in beer from Highland Brewing Company.

So how does a beer wash and a smaller wheel change the flavor and texture profile of the cheese? Since both cheeses are made from raw milk they have to be aged for 60 days before they can be sold to the public. In the smaller wheel, this means that the cheese is ripening a bit faster, and when we get it in the stores it's not just creamier than the regular sized Grayson, but has developed more of its flavor by the time it reaches us.

While Mini Grayson definitely brings the funk to a party, it's milder than her big cousin. Now, part of that is because it's wintertime, and the cows have a different diet going on, so you're not getting those big grassy, sunshiny flavor components that can be found in summer and autumn wheels. What it does have is a nice yeastiness that comes through, and some flavors of hay, licorice, hops and a very faint browned butter aroma. Quite yummy and a must for spreading on toasted bread.

So which one is my favorite? I'm sticking with the original, preferably the wheels that we get in the late summer. Those wheels might not be as creamy in texture as those made with winter milk, but the depth of flavor and stinkiness is right up my alley.

Monday, March 2, 2009

And the answer is......

Grayson is a New World cheese that is modeled after the Old World cheese Taleggio. I find Taleggio to be a milder cheese, while as I've described, Grayson is a big burly cheese. A lot of American cheeses are inspired by Old World cheeses. Bonne Bouche from VT Butter & Cheese Co. is a tastier (in my opinion) version of the French Selles-sur-Cher.

This has happened for a few reasons. First of all, this country is culturally speaking, a melting pot. Many American citizens have roots that can be traced to other cheesy parts of the world. When their ancestors came here, they brought their talents and knowledge with them. In addition, many cheesemakers go to Western Europe to learn how to make cheese. They bring those skills back and turn out American cheeses that are inspired by their travels.

The next time you're thinking about a cheese that's European, ask your cheesemonger if there's an American cheese similar and try them both. Compare the look, feel, smell and of course taste of the cheeses. You might find a new cheesy friend.

Trivia Time!

I did this completely unintentionally, but the past two posts (Taleggio and Grayson)have a connection. Yes, they are both square cheeses. Yes, they both got me a double seat to myself when going home on the bus. And yes, they are both delicious. They have another connection. A very interesting one.

The first person to email me the correct answer, I dunno. My admiration and respect? A pony? No, no ponies. You will win my admiration and respect, not a pony. What are you going to do with a pony anyway? I will post the answer by the end of day (CST) on Monday.

Good luck!

psst! You might be able to find the answer at the Meadow Creek Dairy website. You might also want to take a trip to your local cheeserie to get an answer (along with a luscious hunk of cheese of course)

Friday, February 27, 2009

Sometimes being the UPS man is HARD job.

When we get our cheeses shipped it's usually through UPS or Fedex. I mean, do you want to trust the USPS with something perishable? Really? Well, the other day the UPS man came by to bring us some lovely cheese. Some lovely stinky cheese. It seems that this cheese is so stinky that it comes with it's own disclaimer and warning for the UPS man.

What is this cheese? This monster fromaggio whose smell would have the UPS man think "something here has gone horribly wrong". It's Grayson from Meadow Creek Dairy in Virginia, and it's really not that scary.

This cheese was the second place best in show winner at last year's ACS competition. Grayson, (a Taleggio inspired American original) is a creamy dream come true. Yes, it has a hoof. The last batch we had smelled like a whole bunch of hooves. But once again, the paste isn't as strong as the rind. When I taste this cheese I get a milky, slightly sour, beefy (it is a raw cow cheese after all), green flavor profile. When I say green, what I'm trying to say is that it tastes like the animals were eating in the pasture and that milk was used for the cheese. It does not taste like a Shamrock Shake.

I love to cook with cheese. When I first encountered this cheese way back when, my thought was to make a mac n' cheese. I like Taleggio in the mac n' cheese, why not Grayson? It was scrumptious. The only thing was, my brother and sister-in-law could smell the meal for a few days after. This cheese will try to defeat you. Don't let it. You'll be missing out on a tasty treat. Here's how I would eat this cheese:
  1. Store it wrapped in wax paper or cheese paper. Then into the crisper. This cheese should be eaten within a few days. If you don't, eventually the Grayson will remind you that it's still in your ice box.
  2. If you are going to turn the Grayson into a hot dish and you live in a tiny studio apartment, go to your brother's house and offer to cook something. People love it when you cook for them, and no one ever thinks to ask if what you're cooking will smell like hoof two days later.
  3. When your brother says "Whoa. What's that smell?" tell him to shut up or you'll tell ma that he's bothering you.
  4. Sit around the dinner table enjoying the creamy, ooey, melty, creamy tasty goodness.
If you do not have a brother, a close friend will do. Although, #3 is not going to make as much sense.

I'm so well acquainted with the smell, that I don't always notice it. I grabbed a chunk on my way out of the cheese shop today. I forgot that I took the bus to work. Even though the bus was full, near bursting to capacity, I had a whole two seat row to myself. Behold the smelly power of Grayson!

I wish we had smell-o-net. You guys would love it right about now.

I love this cheese. The creamy texture, the cow-y smells and tastes. This is scientific proof that good things come from VA.

Oh Yum! Ooey Gooey Yum.