Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sao Jorge - Like a Trip to the Azores

I seem to have lost my notes on the Sao Jorge, which is unfortunate since it was an incredibly amazing cheese.  The good news is that it was so memorable that I think we'll be ok.  Hailing from the island of Sao Jorge in the Azores and belonging to Portugal, this cow's milk cheese (according to our cheesemongeress) tends to get PMS.  Rather than having spikes in hormone levels, this cheese simply changes a lot during the aging process, going from sweet to tangy and peppery over time.  Our chunk was peppery, and so dry and crumbly that it broke in half on the way home from the store.  (It's at 2:00 on the cheese board here.  See how it crumbles!  Yum!

This is something that will really perk up your cheese board and make your friends think that you are ultra cool.  Just put some chunks out, and serve with a big red wine, and presto - people intrigued by what they're eating.  You might take a first bite and not really like it, but it will linger on your tongue, and you'll start thinking about it.  And you'll go back for another taste.  And then another one while you are trying to figure it out.  I've never tasted anything like it.  Maybe it's because the cows are eating in the Azores, and the grass there just tastes different.  There has been cheese making on this 95 square mile island of Sao Jorge since the 1400s, so they know what they're doing.  I've never been, but these pictures definitely make me want to go hang out with a good book and some hiking shoes for a month.

The Joe Matos Cheese Factory in Santa Rosa, CA makes a cheese called St. George in homage to this Portugese one.  I may need to go check it out.  It's a lot closer than the Azores, and sounds like a fun, hard working place.  Plus, I'm almost out of cheese.  Time for more!

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