When I shared last Friday’s cheese reviews it made me realize how much I missed sampling and sharing new cheeses on the blog. I do eat a lot more cheese than is shown on the blog but admittedly sometimes I find myself falling into my old favorites or feeling a little too lazy when I do try something new to photograph it and crystalize the eating experience into words. I’m hoping my continued momentum will mean these entries will be a bit more consistent, at least during the summer when the idea of eating cheese, bread and a little fruit, instead of preparing a full meal, fits my more laid back summer lifestyle.
Like the Vanilla Cardona I wrote about last week, these cheeses are special because they each also have something unusual added. There are some cheese experts who think infused or flavored cheeses are a novelty or a gimmick, but as long as they are done well I love them. They’re great for adding something a little unexpected to a cheese plate or a cheese-centric dish.
The first cheese, Dorothea, is a Dutch goat gouda is made with added basil coriander oil, chopped onion, and my personal favorite, potato peels. This is the first time I’d ever heard of potato peels being used in cheese making but given how fantastic cheese is when served atop a baked potato or a plate of crispy fries, the pairing makes sense.
With this cheese I was first struck by its color, a pure snow white thanks to the goats milk. The texture is soft, and while no where near as creamy as a bloomy rind cheese like a Brie, it still almost melts on your tongue if you’ll let it. The flavor is soft and mild at first, clean and milky without any of the characteristic goatiness. But then after the flavor has a chance to develop you get hit with a subtle finish of potato and a deep savoriness. It’s a great cheese for those who prefer something mellow and soft vs. sharp or piquant. And while I don’t have visual documentation, It’s also FANTASTIC in grilled cheese because when heated between two slices of bread it yields oozing, melty goodness. I’m already thinking that if I can get my hands on another piece, I’d love to incorporate it into a grilled cheese with a mashed potato filling (like this one perhaps) because there is personally nothing I love pairing with cheese than carbs and more carbs.
The second cheese, Barely Buzzed may not be new to me, but is new to the blog. It’s made by Beehive Cheese, one of the few artisan cheese producers in Utah. An aged cheese, it has a nutty and smooth flavor. But what makes it truly exciting is that it’s hand rubbed with a mixture of ground coffee (made by the cheesemaker’s brother), ground lavender buds, and a little oil. The rub gives the outside of the cheese and earthy, pleasantly bitter characteristic and according to the cheese makers, it’s what also lends slight butterscotch notes to the interior of the cheese. I know a lot of people are rind-phobic but if ever there was a reason to try eating the rind of the cheese, this is it. I personally found it fun to compare the flavor differences of the middle of the cheese and the edges.
I purchased both cheeses through igourmet when they were sampling at Around the World in 80 Sips in Chicago. This means that while I bought both of them in person, you can buy them through the website and have them shipped to you, no matter where you live. I’ve always been spoiled with great local cheese shops like Pastoral and Marion Street Market here in Chicago and Formaggio Kitchen in Boston so I’ve never gone the online route for cheese, but it seems like a great option for those who don’t have a great specialty shop near by. Not to mention with Father’s Day just around the corner it’s worth checking out their unique selection of gift baskets. While not cheese-related their Artisan American Bacon Gift Basket is on sale and sounds divine.