Monday, August 31, 2009

The third rule of Cheese Club is if someone says "stop" or goes limp, it's time to stop eating cheese

Cheese Club arrived again. Life is good, although my cholesterol is probably stratospheric so I shall continue to avoid having it measured. This bunch went from the "ho-humm" to the sublime to the "OMG WTF BBQ!" At least one here fails the urbane scrumping Cheese Club test of bare-chested Brad Pittism, but there are a few that will rail against the materialism and alienation of modern life while tearing your ears off. You may go limp, but you won't say "stop".

Chabichou du Poitou is a fresh, white mould goats cheese, and not surprisingly was similar to the previously loved Buche Chevre du Poitou. Like that cheese it had a series of layers of various degrees of ripeness, although the Chabichou had a thicker chalky centre with a lovely, goaty, lemony tang and less of the creamy layer of the Buche. On the outside was beautifully wrinkled skin like a Shar Pei, although there is nothing else doggy about it. Cleansing but still rich, like a goats cheese should be.

The Brie de Nangis was a lovely, perfectly ripe Brie, with a gooey, runny middle ("it's runnier than you like, Sir...") and a big flavour as far as Brie goes. To do this cheese justice you have to try and forget years of average, bland Bries that offer a smooth texture and not much else. This is as strong a Brie as I have tasted, and its slightly mushroom, sexy scent will stay in my mind until the next disappointing Brie. Until then, however, whooooaghhhhhh.......

Fromagella di Capra
Fromagella di Capra. Oh yes, this is the stuff for me. An Italian washed rind cheese of goats milk, it had a luscious creamy texture followed up with an elegant fist in the ear of flavour. Strong and rounded without being in the washed rind stinky league, although I think I'm not only becoming immune to increasingly orange rinds, but beginning to demand them. Today is father's day, and this is how I'm celebrating...

Jean's Cow Goat
Jean Faup Vache Chevre - So, this is Jean Faup's Cow Goat (ok, so my translation is a bit literal), or at least is made of both kinds of milk. Semi-hard, smear-ripened it is rippled with small holes. The texture is creamy with a little firmness, like a very soft Emmentaler and the layers of flavour are intense but still subtle. I kept going back trying more, looking for the goatyness (at least, that was my excuse) but I couldn't find it, although I suspect it made the cheese lighter than it would otherwise have been. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

Tete de Moine - a Swiss, hard cooked cow's milk cheese. Strong, nutty and with a powerful and complex perfume, it's the bovver boy of the bunch, although the Fromagella di Capri is leering from behind the Tete's back. There's apparently a gadget you can by to shave the Tete de Moine with (because cheese with stubble is a little too casual), and I can imagine it sitting in the back of the second drawer in the kitchen doing the good work of the goddess Anoia. Unlike the gadget though, I will go back to this cheese again and again. So, to the monks of Bellaly Abbey we say "thank you for this glorious cheese. Oh, and sorry your abbey got turned into psychiatric clinic."

Rochebaron is a cow's milk cheese that looks and feels a bit like a white mould cheese but is also a blue, apparently. I say apparently, because although I can see small pockets of blue, it was exceptionally mild and like a not-very-inspiring brie. It looked like a Camembert dusted in charcoal. Best described as "safe for the kiddies". Everyone else liked it but I.... well, I like the sterner stuff.

(From top left corner, clockwise: Rochebaron, Chabichou du Poitou, Jean Feap Vache Chevre , Fromagella di Capri and Tete de Moine. The Brie de Nangis looked like Brie.)

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