Monday, September 21, 2009

Shropshire Love in Wine Country

I've been feeling guilty about not taking care of happy cheese land these past few days, but I've just been having too much fun in real cheese land to have write up my adventures in virtual cheese land. But here we are, back in happy virtual cheese land with memories of Shropshire Blue and Robiola Bosina and Bermuda Triangle, Pinot Noir and cupcakes.

That's right - nothing like a day in Santa Ynez enjoying the best wines of the Central Coast of Cali, and pairing them with delicious cheeses and yes, cupcakes. Nothing like it to make for an amazing day, and nothing like it to make you want to spend the next day drinking gallons of water and taking many, many naps!

That said, I am now unabashedly in love with Shropshire Blue cheese. We were formally introduced in a glamorous tent, under the magical light of a chandelier. It may be because I'd had many, many samples of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but it may also be that there is something inherently unusual about an orange-yellow cheese with beautiful blue veins throughout. It may be because there was an enormously humongous chunk of the stuff sitting right there in front of me. Who knows. But I do know that it had enough just enough sweetness to counteract the moldy saltiness of the blue mold, and just enough crumbly-ness to require eating with your fingers instead of spreading on a cracker. Yum. Plus, it tastes great with a 2007 Pinot Noir from the Foley vineyard.

This is a relatively new cheese, but it is a very confident, secure cheese, with a great sense of humor. It was developed in the 1970s, and the unusual orange color (for a blue cheese) comes from the natural annato food coloring. For our veggie friends, this cheese is made with vegetable rennet, so no animals were harmed (unless the milk maid hadn't moisturized in advance!). Originally, it wasn't even made in Shropshire, England, but in Inverness, Scotland. I guess they thought Inverness Blue just didn't sound as rich and creamy as Shropshire Blue. Funnily enough, this cheese is now made in Shropshire England.

At the end of our magical evening, it was a a bittersweet sight to see the Shropshire Blue devoured to within an inch of its life. To know that that many people share my love is exciting, but to see it so decimated made me a little sad. I guess that's the thing with cheese - you have to destroy it to really show your love....

Getting a little deep here. Sweet dreams of happy Inverness cows munching on highland grass!

1 comment:

  1. Well yes, I suppose I could have actually looked before asking ;) I'll blame the holiday madness. Sounds great though, I'll be picking some Shropshire up on the way home tonight!