Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The first rule of Cheese Club is don't talk about Cheese Club (Part Two)

The second part of our fromage a trois. I've been looking forward to this all day.

First, the Barossa Valley Cheese Company's Washington. F sniffed deeply, reeled back in horror and described it as "like nail polish remover... an ancient cats' tray...", and yes, the first impression is of an ammonia factory being dropped on a dead cat. But underneath the violent crust is a creamy, mild ooze that is gentle enough to forgive you for the look of disgust on your face.

I will never really feel comfortable with the term "smear ripened". An old mate played drums for a Melbourne punk band (Depression) in the 1980's, and the band's leader and guitarist's name was Smear, but that's not what puts me off. Smear was a lovely guy, and despite his strident vegetarianism and hatred of tobacco we agreed on the importance of one herb, at least. "Smear ripened" suggests a process best not delved into, especially in food production. Cursed with a visual imagination, I would rather think of mould.

The notes from Richmond Hill describe the cheese as "gentile". Well, so am I, I guess. Which reminds me of one of my work mates, who sent me an email saying how glad she was to be Jewish in this time of swine flu...

I think I'll probably be eating most of this myself.

The little chubster above is a Normandy Camembert, bearing the butch and manly name of that famous cheese terrorist, Will Studd. Ummmm... As you can see from the photo, it's on the firm side. It was a lovely, if mild, Camembert, but to be honest I think we're a week too soon. I might come back when it's excrementally runny. Report to follow in some time.

Last, the extreme, big natured, punch in the face that makes you think, "what the fuck was THAT!?!" and then humiliates you by making you beg for more. The High Alpage Gruyere from Fribourg in Switzerland is a traditional hard(ish) cooked curd cheese with a madly concentrated nutty flavour.

While the Richmond Hill notes describe it as "intense Herbaceous buttery creamy" (sic), this has none of the gentle, relaxed communing-with-nature that "herbaceous" suggests. In fact, at my first taste I thought of Heidi on a Harley. "Ja mein lieber, wir gehen auf meinem motorrad." Peter the goatherd is riding pillion, wearing aviator sunglasses and a leather jacket. Great times; great times...

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