Occasionally I’ll buy a certain kind of cheese just because it has a fun name. Such is the case for Twig Farm’s Fuzzy Wheel. I purposely did no research and asked no questions when I sent my order for this fun sounding fuzz from Formaggio Kitchen. I wanted to be totally surprised…and I was.
Twig Farm is a small goat farm in West Cornwall, Vermont and has been in operation since 2005. Owners Michael Lee and Emily Sunderman use traditional equipment and techniques to make their varieties of farmstead cheeses, forming them by hand and aging in their cheese cellar.
At first glance, this Fuzzy Wheel has an unassuming look, similar to a Tomme with its flecked edible rind and graduating paste. Unlike a typical Tomme, this semi-hard cheese has a “fuzzy” white mold covers the rind giving this cheese its name.
Moving in for the smell test may not have been the best idea. I am not sure if it is the fuzz or the blending of cow and goat milk, but this cheese produces a stench that is beyond stinky. To be honest, the rotting mushroom aroma almost kept me from tasting it, and I love stinky cheeses. Had I allowed the funky fragrance to deter me, I would have missed out on a truly tasty treat.
Getting past the funk, I took a small bite and was pleasantly surprised to find the flavor was nothing like the smell. Initial taste on the tip of the tongue is fresh and grassy, yet as it hits the taste buds toward the back, the assertive, earthy flavor wafts in one’s mouth and builds to a savory peak. Light and creamy on the tongue, each bite gets better and better and paired with some red raspberries and a hefty glass of Cabernet, it is a fantastic fromage find.
Admittedly, I lucked out in this quirky find in Fuzzy Wheel. With the price of some cheeses costing as much as a three-course meal, playing roulette on selections can truly be a gamble. I was lucky this time and will probably do it again. I encourage everyone to give the wheel a spin sometime and see what the fates bring.