Seasonal Springtime Cheeses
On the Site Talk board, "jen kalb" wrote:
"One thing that could be cool on the Cheese Board is (not exactly a Cheese of the Month but similar) Is to have threads about seasonal cheeses - those that are particularly good at different times of year.
I would be particularly interested in knowing what cheeses are coming into the markets that I should be looking for and discussing them."
We've had threads saying good-bye to some of winter's best, Mont d'Or, Rush Creek Reserve, Jasper Hill's Harbison, for example. What's ahead for Spring?
This post from March 2012 by Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge
( http://blog.formaggiokitchen.com/2012... ) suggests:
Tronchetto Caprino al Miele
Bleu du Bocage
Other ideas? These could include cheeses that taste best when made from Spring milk or cheeses made in prior seasons that age into optimal maturity during the Spring months.
re: jen kalb
Not something I know much about personally, but you proposed such an interesting topic, I went ahead and posted here. Summer season et al are yours to kick off when the time is right. :)
What is cool is stumbling on Formaggio Kitchen's rec for Manigodine. I'd had that cheese in France and didn't know that it was available for sale in the States. This was very happy news.
Here's the photo of it in the case at Alain Hess in Beaune (Burgundy). The clerk helping us said that it was a new, proprietary cheese related to Reblochon. We bought some and liked it quite a bit though this was a young example and I wished I could have tried one with a bit more age on it.
Looking into it more now, La Manigodine was developed by Guillaume and Murielle Burgat for the US market. It's a larger format than Reblochon and can be aged more than 60 days to meet American requirements for raw milk cheese.
Cowgirl Creamery (of Mt Tam and Red Hawk Fame) has a seasonal spring cheese called St. Pat's. It should show up in stores in March. It's essentially the Mt. Tam, but wrapped in nettle leaves that have been blanched to get the sting out.
It's delicious- creamy as you would expect from a triple creme brie, and a little vegetal from the nettle.
I think of goat cheeses as the quintessential cheeses of spring. Goats get onto pasture a little earlier than cows. Fresh cheeses start appearing in early spring and more aged ones in mid-to-late spring. Take your pick of delightful goat cheeses from the Loire Valley in France, from local US producers, or from wherever.
I'll add a probably rather plebeian but favorite cheese that shows up in mainstream outlets around March: Irish Porter Cheese. I think Cahill's has the largest brand recognition.
I dismissed this for years as a St. Paddy's gimmick, but once I tried it, was in love. Crumbly/creamy slightly tart cheese framed with dark, rich, earthy veins of porter. Slices resemble stained glass. Goes beautifully with Irish stouts and also nicely with light white wines. Have never tried melting or with recipes because it's so good as is. I stock up every year but seldom make it past April.
Here's someone who added it to a sausage flatbread (scroll to halfway, looks fab):
I brought a few precious sliced ounces to work for the breakroom one year only to have suspicion due to the appearance (WTF? Y'all eat freakin chicken spaghetti but can't try nice cheese?). Saving it all for myself now. :)
One more month until Summer arrives . . . what Spring cheeses have you been enjoying?
New to me this year was Weirauch Creamery (Petaluma, CA) Primo Fresco, a gift from a house guest. He stopped at the Saturday morning Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market to purchase it. Very fresh, only aged a few hours/days, quite light and almost fluffy. This may be the first time I've had very fresh sheep's milk cheese. It was not as dense or gooey as fresh chevre (goat cheese) nor as tangy.
Here's one of Weirauch's newborn spring lambs.
Then at a party last weekend, perennial favorite and pretty-as-a-picture, Harley Farms (Pescadero, CA) Van Goat. I've had Harley Farms fresh chevre many times over many years. But paying attention to see if there was a detectable seasonal difference, the cheese seemed a bit richer and stickier on the palate this time. May be my imagination, or not.