As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, coffee and cheese have been a favorite flavor fantasy formula since early childhood. It just seemed right that the nutty, sweet, bitter smells and tastes would fit perfectly together. I imagined they would, only I was still a kid and coffee had yet to become my morning nectar from the Gods. Two cheesemakers obviously felt the same.
We continue the tasting from yesterday with Part 2- Espresso BellaVitano
Sartori Reserve Espresso BellaVitano
For over 70 years, Sartori Foods in Plymouth, Wisconsin has been cheese royalty, winning countless awards not only in America, but worldwide for their Sartori Reserve BellaVitano artisanal cheeses. Flavor combinations ranging from their standard raspberry to their recent limited-edition peppermint are in constant demand. Fortunately, Sartori’s cheeses can be found in most specially food stores, and often at mainline grocers. That’s where I came upon Espresso BellaVitano.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this cheese when I saw it. The grounds on the rind were not as dense as I hoped, and the paste was a bit closer to beige than the buttery gold I was expecting. What’s that old saying? Never judge a book by its cover? I shouldn’t have been worried. Note to whomever displays this in stores: put out a whole wheel – the vacuum-sealed wedges do not do this cheese justice.
Espresso BellaVitano was on our cheese plate for The Hubby’s birthday bash at my in-laws’ house so I could do the same taste test as I did with Barely Buzzed from Beehive Cheese. At first, the aroma was rather intense, but in a good way, swirling together espresso, butterscotch, fruit, even a bit of barnyard. My sister-in-law loved the flavors, although I’m not sure if she was as in love as she was with Barely Buzzed. My brother-in-law and The Hubby, however, just raved about it. They really liked the interesting sugar and tangy combination of the flavors and The Hubby picked up on notes of pineapple. A really well-rounded cheese with a tiny bit of crystallization along with sweet cream yet still a zip of sharpness that lingered on my tongue. My brother-in-law appreciated the milder taste of the espresso, and I think therein lies the rub – the espresso was a bit too mild for me while the texture of the rind was coarse in places. For someone who has tactile issues, that can be a bit off-putting.
I enjoyed eating Espresso BellaVitano and I especially like that I can go to Whole Foods, Papa Joe’s or any specialty foods store and get it without having to pay a shipping fee to get my fix. This is an easy recommendation, as are most any of the Sartori Reserve cheeses for any occasion.
I have since purchased several other wedges of Espresso BellaVitano with finer-ground rinds so I suggest checking out the rinds when buying.