Every once in a while my cheesemonger at Plum Market in West Bloomfield, Michigan manages confound me with a mystery cheese that really blows my mind with fabulous flavor yet little information. Recently, she recommended a new little washed-rind square of sheeps milk called St Sauveur des Basques from Agour Fromages. I’m pretty good when it comes to finding information about cheese, but this one really had me stumped. All I could manage to learn on my own was from the Epicure Foods website;
“St Sauveur des Basques is a very unique soft ripened cheese made with sheep’s milk and packed in a very nice square wooden box. The St Sauveur cheese was the first cheese Agour produced in their new facility on the Iraty road to the mountains.”
This tiny bit of information and that the price point was a whopping $42.99 a square (my sample was considerably less at $12.99, yet is sadly out of stock) wasn’t enough to satisfy my curiosity. So I called up Murray’s Cheese in New York City and spoke with Affineur (Cave Master), Brian Ralph find out more about this funky French fromage.
When I told Brian what I had, he wasn’t surprised by my lack of information. He explained that St Sauveur des Basques was brand new to the Agour line of pasteurized sheep-milk cheeses. The washed rind has a fantastic bread-like quality with the characteristic pungent aromatics, similar to another fromage favorite, Jasper Hill’s Willoughby, except this is sheep and not cow. Beneath the sticky rind is a beautiful pale runny paste with nutty, rich, tangy, flavors that build with each bite. Brian suggested pairing St Sauveur with a Spanish Cider like Emilio Martinez.
So, here’s the scoop: I asked him how he knew so much about this cheese when there was so little information available and that’s when he came clean with the news; Murray’s is currently aging some St Sauveur in their caves, creating a sort of Tomme. Brian intimated the new cave-aged version should be ready sometime in mid December, but call or check their website for the official launch. Murray’s currently has some young St Sauveur des Basque for sale in their Bleeker Street location, or did when I spoke with Brian on Friday. Call first to reserve a square or to have them ship one out and keep an eye on their website for updates on their aged version.
Thanks to Sarah at Plum Market, Brian and everyone at Murray’s Cheese for helping me out with this post!