Saturday, October 24, 2009
Packed in Rosemary, Flown in from Spain!
Continuing on the theme of wrapped and packed cheese for this week, for your drooling pleasure, Romao! This sheep's milk cheese from Spain is rubbed in olive oil and rosemary during its eight months in the cave. This cheese is 27% milk fat! It is definitely a bit on the oily side, or at least the chunk I got from the end of a wheel was. But you'd be oily too if you were marinated in olive oil for eight months! It looks really shaggy with all the rosemary stuck to the oil and cheese. Romao comes in one pound wheels from the region of Cuenca, Spain in the center/east of the country. According to Wikipedia (I know, I know...), this region is full of gorges, which I'm sure create a very exciting climate for the sheep! This is definitely a sheep cheese. Full of its own oils and nuttiness, it has a complexity beyond the rosemary.
Anyway, the rosemary flavor doesn't permeate the interior of the paste, but like the other cheeses this week, the flavor does go at least 1/2 inch in. Because it is aged for as long as it is, it has that crumbly, almost crunchy texture. The oil bath does reduce the crunchiness a bit, but it doesn't drown it out completely.
Perhaps the thing I was least expecting is that the shaggy rind wipes right off, due I suppose to the olive oil mixed with the rosemary crust. Originally, I cut the rind off, but after the Darling Husband swiped the last TWO pieces at the same time, I needed to figure out a way to feed my own cheese hunger, successfully wiping it all off, and munching down on the completely edible rind dimpled with impressions left by the rosemary leaves. Sigh.
Oh, and very tasty with a Cabernet Franc from the Santa Ynez Valley, though I'm sure a Spanish red wine would be perfect! Ole.