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Archive for the ‘Sheep Cheese’ Category

Cazelle de St. Affrique Sheep’s Milk Cheese

Posted by fromagebob on December 14, 2009

I found a new cheese at our local Whole Foods this past weekend. It’s called Cazelle de St. Affrique. It’s a delicious sheep’s milk cheese from Aveyron, in the Midi-Pyrénées region of France. The cheese is a traditional “cabecous” style (small-format) soft-ripened cheese; it’s very similar in shape to Crottin de Chavignol. The term “cazelle” refers to the stone shepherds huts found throughout the countryside. The cheese is a cylindrical shape with a wrinkly rind reminiscent of the huts – quite a pretty sight.

The cheese itself has a herbal aroma, with a very slight hint of sheepy-ness, and a touch of freshly-laid straw. The taste is very nice; it’s a little tangy, but has a herbal, creamy, earthy taste that I really enjoyed. The finish is medium, evolving to a slight “fatty acid burn” that was pleasant, with some floral and straw notes on the tongue.

The texture was interesting; cutting a slice and popping it into my mouth, the sensation was almost like a cheese puff – kind of gelatinous, airy, and slightly chewy that melted into a pleasant, cheesy experience after just a few moments.

I was drinking a 2006 Cesari Mara Ripasso that went rather well with the cheese.

Posted in Artisanal Cheese, French Cheese, Sheep Cheese | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Dante – Wisconsin Sheep’s Milk Cheese

Posted by fromagebob on June 29, 2009

Dante is a seasonal sheep’s milk cheese, made by the Wisconsin Sheep Dairy Cooperative. The cheese is made between February and September. The milk comes from flocks located in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Iowa. The ewes are pasture fed for most of the year. The cheese is aged for at least six months. An extended aging process develops toasted nut and brown butter aromas, and gives a sweetness to the cheese. I find that it has a nice, rich, flavor.

The paste is a gold-ivory color, shifting to light brown near the rind. The color is probably from the carotene in the pasture diet of the animals. The cheese is coated with an edible plastic rind, which I’m not particularly fond of – it gives the cheese a strange texture – but it’s easily peeled off. The flavor is quite nice. Near the center, I find a slightly salty-sweet flavor with grassy notes and a touch of butter. Near the rind, the flavor deepens, giving a hint of pecans and brown butter. Allowing the paste to linger and dissolve in the mouth gives a more intense buttery flavor, with a little lemony taste at the end. The finish is nice, and lingers pleasantly for a while.

I tried this cheese with some Gnarly Head Old Vine Zin. This is a value wine that I quite enjoy. It’s not the greatest zin, but it’s a pleasant drink, and a nice day-to-day wine. It has a nose of chocolate and berries, with spicy undertones. There’s a hint of white pepper, vanilla, and a little tobacco. The flavor is a little tannic, with white pepper, chocolate, dark fruit, and berries. The finish is medium, and pleasant.

It’s a nice combo with the cheese. The cheese brings out the fruit in the wine quite a bit. The wine makes the cheese taste a little sweeter, especially on the finish. At the first hit, the cheese feels saltier, but that dissipates into a pleasant combo. I wouldn’t say that either elevates, but I would certainly give this a +1 as a paring.

Other scores for this cheese with some recent parings:

Wine Score Comment
The Clif Family Climber White Blend: -1 Developed a metallic taste. Not pleasant
Mattebella Chardonnay: 0 Not bad, not great, but it worked. Nice for a party
Buehler Russian River Chardonnay: -1 Sour taste, not pleasant at all.
Clif Gary’s Improv (Syrah): +1 Nice. The wine made the cheese better, the cheese didn’t hurt the wine
Santa Carolina Carminere: 0 OK, neither was hurt, neither was improved.
Dracula’s Blood: -1 Sucked <g>
Santa Carolina Cab: -1 The cheese killed the wine
Kits Killer Cab: 0 Was OK. I almost gave this a -1, but the finish wasn’t bad

Posted in Artisanal Cheese, Cheese, Sheep Cheese, US Cheese, Wine & Cheese Paring | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »