July 27, 2014

This Cheese Doesn't Suck: Haystack Mountain Queso de Mano

    Colorado is bursting with goat cheese makers these days.  Goats are a hardy creature well suited to the harsh climates of Colorado.  From perennial favorite Avalanche Cheese Company, to today's feature Haystack Mountain, there's a goat cheese for every taste.  

    Queso de Mano was the first raw milk offering from Haystack Mountain.  Drawing heavily from the goat and sheep cheese of Spain, Queso de Mano bears a strong resemblance to the famous Spanish goat cheese Garrotxa.  Starting with the vaguely fluffy, dusty grey rind, which carries with it a damp earthy/goaty aroma.  The paste of the cheese its self is supple and springy.  Giving way to a toothsome cream when young and a bit more dry fudge crumble when aged.  Flavors of blanched almond, sun dried grass, and minerals weave together to form a pleasing nod to those Spanish cheeses Queso de Mano is inspired by. 

    Aged 4 to 12 months makes this cheese perfectly in season for late summer.  Depending on the wheel, the milk used to produce Queso de Mano was made from either sweet spring grasses or the herbs and flowers of summer.  Either way this cheese wins and so do you. 
    Queso de Mano can be found regionally in the western U.S. and is perfect paired up with a locally brewed Colorado pale ale.

January 30, 2014

This Cheese Doesn't Suck: Cornish Yarg

    Yep.  Cornish Yarg.  That's it's actual name.  I prefer to draw out the "arrrrr!" when talking to my customers about it.  Makes me feel a wee bit like a pirate.  Plus, you know, "yarg" is just a fun word to say.  Even if it's only "gray" spelled backwards.  Clever since this cheese has it's characteristic dusty gray/green rind.  
    A cows milk cheese developed in Cornwall, England in the 1970's it's a nice riff on a semi firm cheese.  The outside is wrapped and then subsequently aged in nettle leaves that grow wild in the Cornish countryside.  The nettles definitely contribute to the wholly unique (I don't think I've ever had a cheese taste quite like "The Yarg") flavor profiles of the cheese.  Its aroma being moderately strong, singing with moldering leaves (natch), and floral/fruit tones.  The texture is springy with a bit of a wet, sponge-y feel that is not unpleasant. 

    However the flavor, oh the flavor, is like a bushel of overripe peaches and nectarines without the sweet burst onto the palate.  With well balanced salt and a bit of nettle like bite to the finish this is certainly a new favorite to my ever growing list of knock-out cheeses.