As much fun as it has been to extemporize and gush to my heart’s content here at cheeseisgod, I’ll be updating my cheeseventures and fromage debaucheries at a different blog location: introducing The Beer and Cheese List! Just launched and the hedonist child (like brain child but we’re not thinking with our brains har har) of yours truly and my beer connoisseur friend, fellow gourmet/gourmand Philippe. Please check out the new blog by clicking on NEW LOCATION above and see where these aged goods take us! Also that’s confusing un petit peu so just here’s the damn url: http://www.thebeerandcheeselist.com/
Bisous et merci
Its the end of exams, which means my attention and efforts in life can finally be diverted to more spiritual endeavors, namely cheesemongering and catching up on episodes of Scandal. I perused the a local hoity-toity grocery store earlier today with Memère because we received a 20% off coupon on all “holiday specialty cheeses” (what does that even mean…?) Regardless, we made a trip out of it and even though Memère wanted to buy all the cheese we will need for the upcoming festivities, I said “no means no memère and we only get two cheeses today!” Upon arrival, the highly-touted cheese section turned out to be nothing more than a glorified packaged cheese case with no funky smells. However, I saw a glimmer of hope wedged into the corner – moldy-looking, runny blue and brown crusted tomme crayeuse! Check out that nasty:
Beautiful granite croûte, scents of damp earth and fungus, and a pâte just itching to melt all over the place. I was almost reminded of some camembert-cauliflower complex, but this cheese is grade-A american pasteurized milk (although it is a tomme in the same image as a tomme de savoie from the region in France). Unfortunately, I believe my tomme crayyyyyyeuse had been sitting neglected in the display case for several days because upon unwrapping there was a perceptible gust of ammonia and microbial funk. Also, crayeuse means chalky in French, but our just-too-ripe tomme was nothing but pure, salty cream (no complaints except just a little). The pâte, which was definitely a little less runny in the center, did have variable tastes – more salt and leafy green richness/bitter nearer to the exterior and more milder cream butter (like a brie not acclimated enough yet) in the interior. It was an exciting find for Bellevue, especially because tomme crayeuse is a new addition to the cheese world, having been introduced in 1997 by someone important. We paired it with a lovely Duck Pond 2010 Pinot Noir, and that smooth medium body blackberry/plum tannin profile was something divine with our tomme.
3 months of no artisan cheese cravings has demonstrated to me that I don’t like to have to look long and hard for good farmstead cheese (which shouldn’t be a prob here in oregon but I lazy hence no farmers markets d’habitude for me) and I don’t like paying $7 for one stinkin st. marcellin round. Thankfully, when your best friend’s mama takes you and the gang out for sunday lunner at one of Portland’s best (holler at Produce Row Café!) and orders the cheese plate for the table, well that’s when you put on the figurative turophile gloves and dig in to what appears to be a nice, delicate plating of a garlicky soft washed rind cow’s milk creation (Cow Girl Creamery I b’lieve), some nice young pecorino, and a sliced crottin that was courteously identified to me by our server as “ottentique,” which seems to be a crottin produced by Juniper Grove farms here in Oregon. Unfortunately Google told me that accessing their web page would result in attack by malicious software and expose my computer to risks so I just had to go off of the preview in the search engine. Regardless, MIAM MIAM. Check it out:
Lovely wedges with a discernable pâte and darker exterior. Beautiful aged croûte like edible granite
Wondeful snowy exterior, shown here on the last morsel of Ottentique
The ottentique had a marvelous creamy pâte and and velvety consistency after some mashing.
It had a vestige of that butter-on-top-of-jam/syrup-on-mistake taste that I still have no other words for. Not as piquant or puzzling as the San Juan’s Quail Croft crottin, but still with the nutty green root vegetable non-bitterness. There was some crystallization as well, and the savory crystals did some good on the palate. Such good.