Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Tres Bonne Cheeses

 I don't contribute to the blog in the form of recipes and cooking isn't my most favoritest activity, but eating good food is my forte. :)

Our local coop regularly offers a selection of small cheese chunks, perfectly sized for tasting. We've tasted a bunch of different cheeses and I realized we will forget which ones we liked. So I decided to scribble down a few notes from now on, whenever we try a memorable cheese. This weekend we tried real Italian provolone, Oka cheese from Quebec and a local Vermont cheese called Tres Bonne.

Our favorite was the local Tres Bonne. It's made in Enosburg Falls by a company called Boston Post Dairy (http://www.bostonpostdairy.com/cheese.html). It has a mild but bright flavor and is softer than the provolone.

The Oka and the provolone were good, as well. The Oka had a crunchy, salty outer layer and a soft, more pungent middle. 

In the second round of taste testing, we tried Invierno (aka winter) cheese from Vermont Shepherd. The cheese is made from mixed cow and sheep milk. It has a nice creamy, buttery taste. 

We also had cave-aged Swiss Gruyere cheese. Livia said it tasted like caveman feet. I quite liked it :) it definitely has a more pungent flavor than the other cheeses we tried. It's also harder than the Oka. 

In the third round of tasting we sampled English Huntsman cheese from England which is a Double Gloucester wrapped around Stilton. It was very good. The milder Gloucester offsets the sharper, saltier Stilton. 

We also had local Vermont blue cheese which fit perfectly with cubes of quince jam. The Stilton paired well with the quince as well. 

In addition, we sampled some Greek feta made from sheep milk. It was very mild but my Mediterranean taste buds liked it. The types I've tried in Macedonia have a more prominent tinge of the sheep milk flavor and are harder. 

The next batch of cheese tasting included a Mango & Ginger Stilton from England, and two local cheeses: Riley's goat and Ascutney Mountain. 

The Stilton was fruity and mild - there was hardly any cheese taste. The mango and ginger combo worked well. Not bad overall. A dessert cheese if there is such a thing. 

Riley's cheese and the ascutney mountain were both pretty mild. 

Cave aged farmhouse cheese from Orbweaver farm, New Haven, Vt
Semi soft cheese, not overly pungent but flavorful. It's tangy and slightly salty. 

Piave vecchio from Italy 
This was a hard cheese resembling Parmesan in texture but with a less strong flavor. 

Bianco sardo sheep milk cheese from Sardinia 
It's a hard cheese, relatively sweet with a distinct flavor of sheep milk. 

Idiazabal Spanish raw sheep milk cheese. Fairly bright flavor, you can tell it is sheep milk but in a good way. Delicious. 

Raclette French cheese. Saltier crunchier rind. Pungent in a good way. The idiazabal was better but the raclette was a solid choice (actually it's a somewhat soft cheese :) 

The Drunken Goat Cheese
I might have a soft spot for Spanish cheeses. This is a semi sweet cheese made of goat milk and "bathed" in red wine. The wine gives the ring a nice kick and the cheese itself is relatively mild. Tasty!

Butterwick from Twig Farm in Cornwall VT.  
Tangy flavor, and similar to blue cheese (a bit). Nicely creamy and buttery. 

Livia was in NJ recently and brought these from a cheese shop:
Mahon: Spanish cheese from cow milk. Soft and mild flavored. I quite liked it. Made by Cypress Grove.
Midnight moon: very delicious goat cheese. Semi hard and very delicious. 
Wild spitz: relatively creamy and tangy. 
Vintage Gouda: this one was pretty hard and salty. I think it reminded us of Parmesan more than Gouda :)

Blue ledge farm Lake's Edge Goat Cheese: nice goat cheese, slight blue cheese tangy ness. 

Consider Bardwell Farm - Toma style raw jersey cow milk cheese: semi hard, yellow, slightly nutty. Smooth and buttery. It's made in West Pawle, VT and it's very tasty. 

Toma de savoie cheese
This was not out favorite cheese. Sharp, earthy flavor with a bitter after taste. Maybe it was this particular batch. 

Tarentaise cheese from Spring Brook Farm in Vermont: delicious!  Creamy, rich taste (the cheese is actually semi hard). 

Manchego cheese from Spain: very good. Nutty, almost caramel flavor. Might have been a tad too salty. 

Von Trapp cheese - Mt. Alice, Vermont: Made with goat milk. Soft, creamy but not rich. The goat milk gives it a good flavor. I liked it quite a bit!

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