Thursday, May 17, 2007

New Cheeses Now Available

Fourme D'Ambert

Even self-professed haters of blue fall for this gentle, voluptuous, curdy beauty. Critics call it Saga for Grownups, but the good stuff is miraculous: rich, thick, liberally pocked cylinders of blue beneath a smooth, firm rind smelling of cave. Milky yet complex, leathery and earthy, it has none of the fierce residual pepper of better-known Roquefort. Go light and sweet, with thin slices of pear and a Tawny Port.

Tomme Crayeuse

This chalky tomme could be just another Tomme de Savoie-wannabe. Produced in Savoie, it's got that dank, mold-dappled rind and the same mountain-fed cow milk, but two stages of aging catapult it into mushroomy epiphany. First, it lounges in the sauna, warm and saturated with humidity to loosen the flesh into marshmallow cream. Then, a visit to a cooler but equally moist cave teases out those earthy, lactic inclinations, preserving an inner core of milky crumble. The final wheel is pure mushroom butter with a rind smattered with gorgeous powdery yellow mold, the result of cellulose in the cows' diet. A spicy red Syrah could deflect the intense richness of flavor.

Bleu de Gex

Blue de Gex today is still produced in the small mountain dairies that employ the traditional methods that have been handed down from the 14th century. It is produced only from the Montbeliardes or Pie rouge de l’Est cows which graze on these mountains. Although the smell is faint, this cheese is characterized by its nutty taste. The rind is very fine and yellowish. The ivory white dough has evenly distributed green- blue veins. The pate is creamy, almost crumbly when touched.

Salers De Buron

Untouched for centuries, this authentic recipe is made only from the Salers cows that graze in the Cantal pastures at more than 930 meters above sea level. The diversity of the flora and many aromatic plants in the area give a specific taste to both the cheese and the milk. Production is difficult and requires all the skill of the few fromagers that are able to make it. Raw milk that has been aged 10 months in the “Salers” or tiny stone huts that dot the mountains of Cantal make this compact dry cheese unique among all French cheeses.

Cantal Entre Deux

A more industrial production makes Cantal less unique than Salers, but still an excellent example of a pressed curd raw milk cheese. Believed to be 2 or 3000 years old and quoted in many roman writings, Cantal has changed little but is no longer used as currency in the south of France.

Sechon de Pays

Really dense in your mouth with richly tangy finish - Try it. You will love it.

Maroilles Quart

Said to have been created by monks in the 10th century, Maroilles is a powerful cheese. A sweet taste lingers in the mouth as the golden pate leaves an oily residue.

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