Showing posts with label washed rind cheese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label washed rind cheese. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I stink!

Overheard on the bus the other day:

"That girl stinks"

This statement was issued by a fellow bus rider who had sat down next to me and got up within a few minutes to move to another section of the bus. I wanted to shout out,

"It's not me, it's the cheese!" but instead I sat there quietly listening to my ipod, pretending I hadn't heard the comment.

What was this stinky bomb of funkiness that had people fleeing?

Trou du Cru.

You're all familiar with Epoisses right? No? Well, it's that big funky stanky cheese that's actually illegal to take on public transportation in France. It comes in a small wooden box to keep it from turning into a big gooey mess . This cheese is a miniature version of that cheese.

Epoisses, made in the Burgundy region of France dates back to at least the sixteenth century. The cheese is made from cow's milk, and as you can tell by it's orange hue, it is a washed-rind cheese. The Epoisses is washed several times a week in a mixture of water and Marc de Bourgogne.

At the beginning of the 20th century the cheese was still popular, but then started to die off until it was nearly extinct. Fortunately, in 1956 the Berthaut family started making authentic farmstead Epoisses, and the cheese gained in popularity once more, eventually gaining AOC status in 1991

Trou du Cru was developed in the 1980's by Robert Berthaut. In essence it is a miniature Epoisses, but in my opinion it is the tastier of the two.

So what are the differences with the two cheeses? First off is the obvious size difference. The Epoisses most common in the U.S.A. comes in at a bit under 9 ounces. Trou du Cru comes in at about 2 ounces. Epoisses is aged for at least five weeks, Trou du Cru for about four. The biggest difference has nothing to do with size, but pertains to the flavor profile.

Epoisses, when ripe gets an ooey, gooey, creaminess that's almost unreal. It is smooth, sweet, slightly stinky and delicious-If you like salt licks. A fully ripened Epoisses is just way too salty for me. Just so you don't think I'm a salt wimp I'll tell you that one of my guilty pleasures is eating kosher and sea salt as a snack. I love salt. It's one of my favorite foods groups. Epoisses is just too salty for me.

Trou du Cru on the other hand is very well balanced. It has the strong smells of cheese, body odor and slightly soured milk but the paste is just soooo good. It's super creamy, sweet and lactic, a bit beefy and fruity with just a smidge of floral notes. It is one of my favorite new cheese friends.

If you love Epoisses, you have to try Trou du Cru. Just avoid public transportation.

The cheese is pictured with some balsamic marinated onions, country pate, whole grain crackers and a bit of mustard. The cheese was so ripe I had to scrape it out of its paper doily that it was wrapped in. It just oozed onto the board in a silky mess of cheesy goodness.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Twig Farm Visit

Some of my favorite cheeses come from Twig Farm in West Cornwall, Vermont. This small farmstead creamery is making some phenomenal stuff.

Why are their cheeses so rad? I've decided to write a list for you.

1. It's seasonably made. Michael encourages his goats to follow their natural breeding cycle. They mate in the fall, take the winter off to gestate, and in the spring "kidding" season starts, and fresh goat milk is available once again.

2. All of their cheeses are raw. I'm a huge fan of raw fluid milk and raw milk cheese. Why does raw milk make a difference? Many people believe that raw milk cheese has a more complex flavor profile. Yes, it's true that pasteurizing cheese kills off all of the bad bacteria like listeria, but it also kills off the good flavor-producing bacteria that add depth of flavor and a sense of terroir to the cheese. The cheeses from Twig Farm-especially square- taste very much like the natural flora that is part of the goats' diet.

3. Cheesemaker Michael used to be Cheesemonger Michael at South End Fromaggio in Boston. I think that it's beneficial for a cheesemaker to know what's going on in the retail world. Knowing what happens in the shop can help a cheesemaker out in terms of what size and shape of cheese is easy to distribute, what price point the markets can bear, how best to merchandise their cheese, and gives them a complete picture from milk to consumer on what happens to their product. It is also beneficial for a cheesemonger to learn more about the scientific and labor intensive processes that go into every delicious wheel that we sell, but that's another post for another day.

4. Michael knows the names of all of his goats and it is clear after meeting him that he loves his employees.

5. The land is beautiful. To get to the pasture we walked through a rocky little foresty area which is perfect for playing with your goaty girlfriends or for climbing with your little goaty hoofs. Then we got to the fields. Thistle, Queen Anne's Lace, clover and yummy grasses are all there ready to satisfy any of your nibbling needs. Twig Farm is a goat paradise.

6. The cheeses all have very simple names which is appealing and comforting in a way that I can't actually describe. While the names of the cheeses (Square, Fuzzy Wheel, Goat Tomme) almost sounds generic (like the "Acme" company that always come popping up in road runner cartoons) the cheeses are phenomenal. My favorite of the Twig Farm cheeses is Washed Rind. This buttery, creamy, slightly funky, definitely goaty cheese is washed in a whey brine solution and aged for just under three months. While you should absolutely buy any of their cheeses if you see them, the Washed Rind is required eating.

Goats hanging out in the pasture. Eating green stuffs and being happy.

My brother confessed to me that he isn't much of a goat lovin' man. The Twig Farm ladies changed his mind though. They just surrounded him and made him pet and fall in love with them. See bro, I told you. Goats are good.

Okay yeah it kind of looks like this goat is either burping, coughing or has a furball.

Goats are herd animals and love playing follow the leader.

These are the Twig Farm bucklings. So cute. All they wanted to do was nibble and nuzzle our hands.

This was the last stop on our three farm tour with Vermont Farm Tours, and it was one of my favorite. I've been a fan of Twig Farm for quite a while and meeting Michael and his lovely ladies was one of the highlights of my trip. If you're going on a cheese trip through Vermont, you MUST make a stop here to play with the goats.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I Smell a Smelly Smell That Smells Rather Smelly

Here it is, December in Chicago. Cold, rain, freezing rain, snow, wind and washed rind cheese. For those of you who weren't with me last winter let me catch you up. I LOVE washed rind cheeses.

The washed rind category is huge. It includes cheeses that have been rubbed, painted, or otherwise coated in either some type of alcohol or in a brine solution. Washing the cheese in addition to a certain strain of bacteria gives you an orange colored rind.

Yes, there are the obvious washed rind cheeses like Grayson, Taleggio, Langres, and Hooligan: All of them cheeses that you can smell even before seeing, but not all washed rind cheeses have that big beefy funk to them. Comte, Raclette and Pleasant Ridge Reserve are both good examples of washed rind cheeses that don't have a "hoof".

But today is about my new stinky friend. Pave Henri is a new to me cheese from Fayette Creamery which is the artisan cheese line of Brunkow Cheese in Wisconsin. It is a big and beefy with some slight smokey, nutty, goodness. A super creamy paste with a creamy, buttery, rich mouth feel. Perfect cheese for the upcoming cold winter. I haven't done it yet, but I was thinking about taking this cheese and melting it on the top of some roasted potatoes and onions-Raclette style. Yes, it would stink up the apartment, but just like with the Grayson I plan on doing it at my brother's house and letting his neighbors suffer instead.*

Oh washed rind season how I adore you!

*Hey bro, I'm only kidding about this. Pay no attention to what I'm saying here. It's just that I have a little brick of this cheese hiding in the crisper and I'm coming over this Sunday to cook for you guys. Total coincidence.

Friday, March 6, 2009

New Cheese Sighting

So, today is Friday and a new crop of blogs will be posted on the Finest Food Friday section of the Foodie BlogRoll. Thanks so much to The Leftover Queen for mentioning me, and thanks to all the new readers that have found my little blog and think it's neat.

Ok, time to get back to the good stuff. Cheese. Once again we are going to washed rind land. I've been a little washed rind oriented lately, and today is no different. Today's cheese comes to us from Cato Corner in Colchester Connecticut. I love saying that out loud. Her name is Fromage d'O'Cow. Yup, their washed rind cow's milk cheese is called "cow cheese". They also have a washed rind cheese called "Hooligan". They are a bit cheeky and we love them for that.

In my family as I've mentioned we use words like "foot" and "hoof" to describe a stinky cheese. Well, I know have a new word. Stampede. Let's say that Red Hawk has a little foot and Winnimere has a hoof. Fromage d'O'Cow is a full on elephant stampede.

This cheese STINKS! Oh sweet mother of all that is good and true in this world this cheese is FUNKY! It smells a bit's undefinable. I have never smelled anything like this before. The day this cheese was delivered thank you UPS man we are forever in your debt. I smelled it from outside the store and one shop away. This is not the cheese for the novice or the faint of heart. This is the cheese for the true cheese lover.

The taste is also big. Huge flavors here at first, beefy, earthiness. After letting it sit out for a while the cheese becomes rather complex. The earthiness starts developing into moss and grass. The saltiness gets a bit bigger as well. Excellent.

Now I am a big pro rind eating girl. The rind is part of the cheese people. Eat it. At least try it. If you don't like it, fine. That being said, if I see one more person not eat the bloomy fluffy rind on a Brie, and scoop the paste out I might get get crabby. Back on topic. I couldn't finish the rind. It was just too much. All the moist, tacky funkatude is in that rind, and Wednesday just wasn't my day. I ate most of it. I swear.

For a moment I thought this cheese might defeat me. That in fact it might kick my butt up and down Lakeshore Drive. But it is I who am victorious! Take that you pungent disk of creamy goodness!

I tried the cheese again yesterday and was able to do the whole cheese, rind and all.

What a handsome cheese!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

It's a stinky cheese weekend!

Taleggio. The stinky, milky, creamy, beefy, cheese of footy aroma that comes to us from northern Italy. I've had Taleggio when it's young and it has a really creamy milky flavor to it. I've also had it when it is just perfectly ripe and has some beefy qualities, and an almost olivey fruitiness to it. I've also tasted it when it was verrrrrrrrry ripe. Although the taste was nice (kind of like dry aged beef and warm milk) the smell.......oh sweet mother of cheese......the smell was......hard to describe, but I'll give it a shot. So imagine if you will the Bulls locker room at the end of game 7 of the series, that went into double overtime, and then they lost anyway so you have that smell of sadness and despair, and then all their jerseys go into one laundry bag. It kind of smelled like that laundry bag. And dirty socks. Tasty though.

I first met Taleggio when I worked at a northern Italian restaurant in Virginia. I used the cheese for sauce, cheese plates and for putting into my tummy. This cheese is delicious! It's also a super great melting cheese. Grilled cheese? No problem. Mac n' cheese? Absolutely. Cheeseburgers (last night's dinner). Heck yes! This cheese can do it all.

This is one of my all time favorite cheeses. When I can't figure out what to pick up at the shop, I know that a chunk of Taleggio is always going to be a good thing. Does Martha own that saying or am I allowed to use it?

Today at the shop I had cause to open one up and I realized that this is an interestingly shaped cheese for a two reasons.

  1. It's a square
  2. When we cut it we cut it into a diagonal (just like all squares-the Grayson is a square too)
How do you know that you've got Taleggio and not some Taleggio wannabee impostor that tastes like ick and smells like plastic? Ok, well if it tastes like ick and smells like plastic, it's not the real ting. But if your cheese isn't branded like cattle, it's not the real thing.

No, I don't know what the brands stand for. In my mind it's Taleggio, Taleggio, Taleggio Hey! I'll look into it though. Promise.

Mmmmmm...fresh cut Taleggio.

Once cut in half from corner to corner, the cheese is then portioned for each customer. Going from the center of the cut side we cut off wedges. Doing it this way insures that each customer is getting the same amount of rind and paste ratio with each portion.

I haven't decided if this wedge is going to be pizza, or mac n' cheese. All I know is I'm off today, and this cheese is going in my tummy.