Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Cheese for a Wednesday - pt 26 Happy California Sheep!

Oh my has it been a week.  And it won't be getting any better until mid-April.  Apologies in advance for the lack of posts, but I'm almost done with my MBA, and after that's done, I'll be extra cheesy!

In the meantime, it is a Wednesday, and so I owe you a new cheese!  La Panza Gold  is a sheep's milk cheese from Rinconada Dairy north of Los Angeles in San Louis Obispo County.  It is one of the few dairies that I've found in Southern California (the SoCal:NorCal ratio is heavily weighted in favor of Northern California).  They have 200 sheep and a small herd of goats happily munching away on the grasses of the chaperral overlooking the Pacific.  They also have a farm-stay program, where you can go for the weekend, milk goats and work on the farm.  It sounds like a lot of fun to me - I just have to convince the DH to come with me!

So - La Panza Gold is a hard sheep's milk cheese, with some crystalization, kind of like pecorino romano.  The rind of this cheese is washed with sheep milk whey as it ages, which gives is a really beautiful golden color.  The cheese is shaped in a basket mold, which gives it a really cool look.

You could easily serve this nutty, earthy, sweet cheese by just breaking it up into free-form chunks, and serving it on a cheese plate with some grapes to help bring out the sweetness in the cheese.  It also lends itself very easily to the same kinds of uses a pecorino romano or pamigiano-reggiano - grating onto pasta or what ever you grate hard salty/sweet cheese on.  The other night, I had made some mushroom barley soup that turned into a kind of pilaf when all the moisture was absorbed.  It still tasted great, so I steamed up some brussels sprouts (I just love how cute they are!), and used the carrot peeler to shave curls of this beautiful cheese on top, which really added to the dish.  See the little holes in the peels?

Sweet cheese dreams friends!

1 comment:

  1. I need to know the recipe for that soup/pilaf!