Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cheese for a Wednesday - pt 22.5 Johnny Cash edition

As promised - video!!!  I believe that even people who don't like country music can't help but start tapping their feet when they hear Johnny Cash and the Carter sisters.  Feel free to disagree.  Did you know that the Carter Family were the first to sing Wabash Cannonball back in 1929?  Did you know that Capriole Dairy's Wabash Cannonball goat cheese was one of the first prize winning American cheeses back in 1995 - practically the dark ages in American cheese years?

Anyway, I've been waiting to share the Wabash Cannonball with you ever since New Year's eve when this was the "sympathy cheese" for my lactose intolerant friend who couldn't partake of the orgy of Emmenthaler, but whose delicate system is fine with goat cheese.  I was immediately chagrined by the fact I had promised to let him eat the whole thing and took back my promise - helping myself to two crackers worth for myself.

This little cheese is a perfect single serving cheese.  I would absolutely serve one per person (or perhaps one per couple) at an elegant dinner party.  At approximately 3 ounces, it's a little bigger than a golf ball.  If you are familiar with antique firearms, you might also see the similarity to a Civil War era small cannon ball due to its coating of vegetable ash.  But far from being a sad reminder of the War Between the States, this Wabash Cannonball is rich, tangy and crumbly, with just a hint of lemon.  The cheese makers at Capriole Dairy in Southern Indiana suggest it for dessert, served with figs or a simple syrup infused with lavender and vanilla bean.  It sounds like an elegant juxtaposition of tangy and sweet - a complex explosion of flavor.  I think a nice espresso or mint tea might really complete a final course.  Unfortunately, I read that suggestion well after having scarfed it down dry with crackers.  I always seem to forget the accompaniments.  Next time!

The legend behind Capriole Dairy is wonderful as well.  In an attempt to get back to the land and live a more sustainable life, the cheesemakers ended up buying property in S. Indiana that had belonged to the husband's great great grandfather many years before.  They built their home on the same spot where the original log cabin had been.  A really lovely story, I think.  A fine pairing for a lovely cheese.

Sweet cheese dreams all!  (and for those sticklers out there - please note that I'm posting at 11:06 PST on Wednesday, so I still haven't officially missed a Wednesday cheese!  Wish me luck on Friday for another exciting dentist encounter....

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