Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cheese for a Wednesday, pt. 20 - Pirate Edition

Yarg!  A basic of pirate vocabulary is also the name of a great cheese from Cornwall.  A really beautiful, special cheese, this cow's milk beauty is an updated version of a 13th century recipe.  A cross between Welsh Caerphilly and English Wensleydale, Yarg is actually named for Mr. Alan Gray, the cheesemaker responsible for developing the modern recipe in 1984.  (Get it?  Yarg/Gray...those Brits are soooo clever!)

When I went into Andrew's Cheese Shop last week to announce my desire to bring back Welsh Rabbit, Andrew offered up Cornish Yarg, made in Cornwall, just south of Wales.  While we ultimately decided it wouldn't necessarily be good melted with beer, even if it was practically Welsh,  it is a great English cheese. At first sniff, you really smell the milky freshness of this cheese.  Then you realize how sweet and "green" it smells.  The green comes from a unique ingredient in this cheese - the Stinging Nettles it is wrapped in!  The good news is that the leaves are frozen to get rid of the "stinging," but there is definitely a tangy flavor that can be attributed to this natural rind. I did  eat the nettle rind, and it really did add extra depth to the cheese.  And it's so pretty!  Whole wheels make an amazing bottom layer of a cheese "cake."

The texture is both crumbly and a bit sticky.  Oxymoronic, perhaps, but it's true.  The flavor is very smooth, with a bit of tart on the middle of your tongue.  The milk that you smell is the dominant flavor of this cheeseThere is a bit of moldiness, and a little (tiny bit of) mushroomy flavor, but that just adds to the old fashioned flavor of this cheese.  And when you realize the original recipe is 700+ years old, that makes sense!

Cornish Yarg is only made at one dairy in Cornwall, but it's made its way around the world.  It's also a great thing to put on the "bucket list" if getting to Cornwall is on your list.

Or if you want to be a pirate...Yarg!

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