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!