Sunday, November 4, 2007
Fall Cheese Plate
As always, clockwise from 12:00...
Haystack Mountain, Red Cloud
Washed Rind Goat
After loving the Haystack Peak from this Colorado goat farm, I vowed to try more. The Red Cloud is a semisoft goat cheese with a wonderfully mild flavor, which really doesn't have much goat to it. It tastes a bit more like a semisoft cow, almost like a milder version of the famous Pleasant Ridge Reserve from Upland Farms Dairy in Wisconsin. The piece I had appeared to be fairly well aged.
I must note, however, the fact that the name is quite familiar to the Cowgirl Creamery's Red Hawk, an award winning washed rind cow cheese that looks very similar to the Red Cloud...something going on here or mere coincidence?
Washed Rind Cow
Brinata is often described as Italian brie, but I really don't think that's accurate. First of all, it has a washed as opposed to bloomy rind. Second, the scent was more like an Epoisse than a brie, though the taste is a bit more mild and earthy. All in all, an enjoyable cheese but one I'd like to try fresh. This piece had clearly been sitting around for a while.
From the Mediterranean island of Menorca comes this firm, crumbly cheese with a bright orange rind. Mahon is delightfully salty but also fruity. It cries out for a sweet wine to accompany it. This would be good crumbled over salad as well.
Served with Jamon Serrano, shredded duck leg confit, cornichon and pears.
All cheese was purchased at Surfas in Culver City. I love Surfas for their gourmet items and cooking supplies, but I honestly don't recommend their cheese, at least from the in-store refrigerated section (as opposed to the cafe). This is a case of pre-cutting and pre-wrapping cheeses until they sit around for God knows how long and can be victims of moisture and other bad things, and I've had my share of bad experiences with Surfas' cheese. Cheese, like wine, is a living, evolving thing and should be treated with more care.