Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Cheese for a Wednesday, pt. 10

Here we are again.  A Wednesday night - the least exciting day of the week - always in need of a little bit of a perk-up.  Tonight we are featuring aged sheep's milk cheese from Spain named Ombra.  The rind on this is hard as a rock, but such a warm brown color, that I had to bring it home.  And, did I mention that it smells amazing!  Rich, salty, nutty.  Yum!

Because this cheese is aged at least 4 months, it is beautifully crumbly (more time aging = more moisture loss = crumbles!) with little air holes throughout the paste.  But even dry, it sports the oily sheen of a good sheep cheese.  It is so light and delicious, though.  Not a bit oily on the tongue.  It isn't overly salty, and I swear I can taste the fresh spring grass that the sheep were grazing on in beautiful Catalonia.  I can't tell you how much I need to go there!

Anyway, this cheese is subtly complex.  There is a sweetness to it - butterscotch maybe?  And near the rind, I swear I could taste a little citrus - grapefruit?  Further research was necessary - a few more bites.  Yup, a definite sweetness at the end, and it smells of the meadows.  Sigh.  I really likes this cheese - just don't eat the rind.  To hard.

This cheese would be amazing on a cheese plate - a little cube of surprise to enjoy with a Zinfandel. (Which I did!)  I also ended up grating a huge amount of it to put on a dinner of ravioli, broccoli, peas and a little olive oil infused with garlic, salt, pepper and basil.  A great alternative to Parmesan. Yum!

I'm dreaming of a cheese trip to Spain!  How about you?

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