Cheese Parade

of livestock and mold


Starting in the upper left and moving clockwise.

French Brin D’Amour
The “sprig of love” is a cheese made from Corsican sheep. The rind is encrusted in the aromatic herbs with which it spends three months curing. The juniper berries and rosemary give its pale ivory paste a floral flavor. It’s a pretty, pretty cheese. This is the cheese to come home to after a bad smelly cheese experience, a bad date or a bad marriage. It restores the faith.

Chimay Bierre
This cheese is washed with Chimay, the beer of Belgian monks. It’s a smooth cheese with nuttiness and a tart finish, but I kept thinking: Why aren’t I just drinking Chimay?

Bellwether Farms San Andreas
The sheep on this California farm have the San Andreas fault running right through their land. I expected the cheese to have a flavor of foreboding with a hint of grassiness and fear (you know how animals can sense forthcoming doom and all). And yet, this is an easy table cheese that is mild with a piquant finish. My three year old ate nearly the whole wedge.

Tome Verte
Fresh goat cheese is soft, lilly white and cuts the normal tangy nature of goat by more than half. This French version is coated in fennel, thyme and pink peppercorns which give it a nice herbal flavor. Don’t expect the richenss of aged cheese, instead think of a wind-swept meadow exploding with spring clover.

Red Hawk
This triple cream cheese from the Cowgirl Creamery in California is somewhat of a darling in the cheese world, garnering awards from the American Cheese Society left and right. Washing the rind provides the signature sunset-orange tint, but it also gives the cheese its smell. Stinky. Bad-celery-melting-in-my-veggie-drawer stinky. My first taste was overwhelmed by the stinkiness, making me think of creamy cabbage. But the second taste (after I had presumably primed my tastebuds) was mellower and creamy with a nice earthiness. I’m eating this with some Caymus Conundrum on Saturday when my sunny patio hits sixty degrees.

Bleu des Basques
A nicely balanced bleu from the French Basque region. There’s just enough saltiness to work with the tang, it’s full of character without having that overbearing ego. Be warned, when you bring the cheese to room temp (which you should do before eating) it might sweat a little due to the lovely fat content. Just keep it loosely wrapped in wax paper while it warms up, and never hold fat content against a cheese.

All these cheeses can be found at Surdyk’s.