The Hubby has been fortunate in his travels, both domestic and international, to discover and sample delectable cheeses. On occasion, he has been able to bring these newfound cheesy treasures back home to me. As those who have travelled with cheese know, this can come at great odoriferous expense to one’s fellow passengers. Such was the case after The Hubby’s first visit to Blackberry Farms in the heart of Tennessee’s Great Smoky Mountains a few years back. He surprised me with a wheel of Trefoil; a pasteurized sheep milk cheese with a funky, hand washed rind. Failing to mention he would be traveling by air, he packed his suitcase with the loosely wrapped, stinky cheese. His fellow travelers were not feeling so thanking him for the lovely gift even though I did. Remembering his malodorous experience from the past, The Hubby requested everything be wrapped up extra tight for the trip home this time. His luggage and I appreciated his gifts all the more for it.
Tag Archives: Sheep’s milk cheese
It must have been a Passover miracle that, although we were Jewish, the Easter Bunny still left us baskets on the end of our beds every Easter Sunday. Not the dime-store, cheap-o ones with the gigantic plastic-tasting jelly beans, sparse sassafras looking all lame in the bottom just barely covering the one or two chocolate eggs, and generic Barbie either. These were giant, showcase baskets with Peeps of every color spilling over the side, diorama sugar eggs that were set aside and never really eaten, and caramel covered chocolate eggs, the pre-Cadbury Creme Egg that oozed caramel when I bit into them. And a REAL Easter Barbie in the middle. I was lucky. I was spoiled. I miss getting those goodies. Tim Gaddis, my pal and also Cheese House Manager of Many Fold Farm, played Peter Cottontail this year and sent a holiday sheep tote of goodies, including a wheel of Garrett’s Ferry and a pyramid of Condor’s Ruin. There was even a #travelingsheepshirt from the first lot made, which may be even than a Barbie!
Perail hails from the Aveyron region of France, where Roquefort is produced in a region that has a long history of sheep herding. There are many theories of how Perail came to be in existence. Stories range from the bloomy brie-like sheep’s milk wheels being created during low milk production, to shepherds holding back small amounts of milk from the larger Roqufort producers and creating the small pure sheep milk cheese in their homes for their families and neighbors. Whatever the stories and history may be, we are fortunate to have this tasty treat available to snack on now.
Perail is a pasteurized sheep’s milk cheese with a thin, bloomy rind and soft, pale paste. When young, the interior is more firm and mild in flavor and the grassy notes are very apparent. Allow it to get a bit more ripe, which is what I did, and the rind collapses a bit, the “sheepy” barnyard flavors intensify, and the grassy, buttery, and sweet flavors come alive. Pair Perail with a light white or sparkling bubbly wine or perhaps a crisp hard cider.
For those who are on the fence about sheep’s milk cheeses, Dirt Lover from Green Dirt Farm is the fromage to try. Made in the classic French farmstead style of cheeses similar to Valencay and Selles-sur-Cher, Dirt Lover has an edible bloomy rind and vegetable ash coating which is visible once the first cut has been made. The black ash boldly stands out against the creamy, ivory paste near the rind then gradually becomes more dense, pale, and crumbly toward the center of the small wheel.
The slightly stiff rind has an earthy, almost mushroom-like flavor followed by the smooth, creamy paste which hits the taste buds with nutty, buttery, lemony tones, then finally ending in salty-sweet crumbles. Each layer is so distinct, yet they work perfectly together. There is a lot happening in this little cheese, yet not so much that it is overpowering or overly intense.
Pairing suggestions range from a glass of Chardonnay or any dry to medium dry white wine to a good fruity craft beer. Salty prosciutto, seasonal berries and some crusty bread and the party is ready to begin. Dirt Lover can be purchased directly from Green Dirt Farm’s website or specialty cheese shops.
Be sure to check out Green Dirt Farm’s website to learn all about Sarah Hoffman and Jacqueline Smith’s Weston Missouri Animal Welfare Approved farm. These ladies are pretty awesome and prove that happy animals produce tasty products.
Dirt Lover was an American Cheese Society winner recognized for outstanding flavor in 2013
Hanging out at Whole Foods is always fun, but this past Tuesday night at the Ann Arbor-Cranbrook location was extra fun thanks to cheesemonger Carrie and her mad grilled cheese skills.
On the grilled cheese menu were three tasty options:
Le Gruyère Reserve from Emmi Roth – a nutty, spicy cheese which melts great and is commonly used in fondue. This was grilled in a mini raclette and paired with sweet, tart Bartlett pears.
Halloumi from Cyprus from G. & I. Keses – a combination of goat and sheep’s milk that takes the shape of the baskets in which it is made, this intense cheese actually does not melt at all! The salty cheese retains it’s shape and has a squeaky texture, but served with a drizzle of honey and it really pleased even the most discerning palate.
Berliner Der Käse from Emmi Roth – a Whole Foods exclusive with a creamy texture and nutty taste grilled up nicely onto some baguettes.
Carrie and the cheese were both big crowd-pleasers. So do you have a favorite fall cheese for grilling? We wanna know about it and it could get you a $50 Whole Foods Gift Card!
Post a comment with your favorite Fall Cheese (Heck, you could even post a picture if you’d like!) by September 30th. A winner will be chosen at random and announced on October 6th. Thanks to Whole Foods in Ann Arbor for having me, Carrie putting up with me all evening, and good luck everyone!
As a cheese blogger, I consume quite a bit of fromage for research (and because it’s pretty awesome). When I travel, I spend at least a quarter of my time hunting down local cheese shops and sampling their wares. I am in constant contact with my local cheesemongers to find out when new and seasonal cheeses are available and have them hold me a wedge or two. I do all this because I love cheese the taste of cheese, not because I am addicted. Or am I? Continue reading
Rosh Hashanah begins at sundown tonight and millions of Jews around the world will celebrate the coming of year 5771. The typical way to begin the high holidays is to have something sweet after services and then have a huge holiday feast, usually on the kosher side. For such family gatherings, it falls to me to bring the cheese. While I love my heritage and respect the traditions and laws, I have to say…I HATE parve cheese. Parve cheese is kosher-accepted cheese, sometimes made from soy rather to insure no animal rennet mixes with dairy, a big kosher no-no. I appreciate the effort, but the flavor of this kosher concoction is rather unpleasant and the texture is more like oil than cheese. So, what’s a good Jew to do? Fortunately, there are cheeses made with vegetable rennet and while they aren’t technically kosher, these cheeses are Rosh Hashanah friendly. Continue reading