Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Cheese for a Wednesday, pt. 4

As promised, I am giving some love to sheep cheese, and no better day to give this love than a Wednesday, the day I have unofficially devoted to exciting new cheese. I managed to get out of the office and made it to Andrew's Cheese before it closed. I was looking in the case for labels with little sheep on them, and didn't find as many sheep icons as cow and goat ones, and realized that I needed to love sheep cheese for another reason - it's kind of the undersheep, as it were, in the cheese world, and I love an underdog!

I was going to get an Ossau-Iraty from France because my friend VG really enjoyed that cheese on vacation last month, but I got there and I saw a funny, almost flying saucer shaped cheese with a lumpy brown rind from Coventry, England called Berkswell with the sheep icon on the label. Hooray! Something totally new. And so delicious. Dry and crumbly, but not flaky. A sweet nutty-ness that went great with the chocolate almond crostini. Andrew says there's a pineapple finish. I don't know if I got that, but it was definitely amazing.

I asked him for another sheep cheese to serve as counterpoint to the Berkswell. Most sheep's milk cheese are hard cheeses, and I was hoping to find a nice soft sheep cheese. Apparently, that is because they have a higher protein content. The opposite is true of goat cheese, with it's lower protein content it is easier to make a soft cheese than a hard one. But I found a great semi-soft sheep cheese from Portugal called La Serena. It smelled like black olives at first whiff, and the first taste tastes just like it smells. The end is a little bit bitter, but in a good way. With all of these complex tastes and smells, it doesn't have any of that barnyard/ammonia smell that comes from a washed rind "stinky" cheese (because it isn't a washed rind cheese - duh!).

So, we had a delicious Wednesday dinner of sheep's milk cheese, chocolate almond crostini and Sangiovese. My skin is a little extra oily at the moment, but it's good for skin, right? We ended with a great over-the-fence chat with neighbors, an an evening of my favorite Fox television - Glee with a starter of So You Think You Can Dance. Nobody ever said I wasn't a little cheesy!

Sweet dreams everyone, and continue to count those happy little sheep!

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