Thursday, August 16, 2007

Like Oh My God: Valley Cheese

A lovely cheese plate purchased at The Artisan Cheese Gallery in Studio City. Artisan is a fine little cheese shop with a nice selection. They also serve great looking sandwiches, which I will have to try on another visit. If you are a Valleyite and can't get down to Beverly Hills or Silverlake, I would definitely recommend Artisan.

Again, moving clockwise from 12:00 on the cheese plate, we have:

Echo Mountain Blue
, A mixed milk (goat and cow) blue cheese.
Rogue Creamery, Central Point, Oregon.

Rogue Creamery, named after Oregon's Rogue River, makes a number of great blue cheeses. I'm a big fan of their creamy Rogue River Blue which has huge flavor. This Echo Mountain, which I'd never tried before, is a creamy blue with a mild flavor. Despite the use of mixed milk, there is not much of a goat cheese flavor. I enjoyed this with honey or a touch of fig jam.

Sablé du Boulonnais, a French cow cheese.

This was the first time for me with this pungent washed rind cheese from the far northern reaches of France. This is a high stinker. The rind is a bit overwhelming for me, as is often the case with the high stink family. The cheese itself has a dense, nutty quality, having some of the properties of a Taleggio but none of the subtlety of that cheese. The texture is soft but not liquid, holding its form at room temperature. This was an interesting cheese but not a favorite.

Wensleydale, an English cow cheese.

I love British firm cheeses; the Cheddars and Cheshires that crumble at your touch, taste of salt and white wine and pair so well with sweet wine, strong ale and hard cider. Wensleydale is in this family. It has a strong, salty, somewhat barny taste and a tart finish. I've always been a fan but hadn't had it in a while. It was worth going back to.

Haystack Peak, goat cheese.
Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy, Longmont, Colorado.

This Colorado goat cheese, aged to perfection, was the star of the plate. A bloomy rind cheese (meaning it had a soft, white rind like brie), the cheese was at the perfect ooze stage in which you don't cut it so much as scoop it. It has a smooth goat flavor, much more subtle and complex than some goats. This is definitely one of the best goats I've had. I must try some of the other offerings from this Colorado dairy!

Overall, a nice diverse cheese plate, touching three nations and two animals. The cheese was served with a Los Feliz bakery sourdough boule, a selection of farmers' market fruit and a glass of Trader Joe's late harvest Moscato dessert wine.


Bon Vivant said...

Ask them for Gour Noir (raw goat's milk cheese from La France); if they don't have it ask them to get it for you. Trust me on this.

sku said...

Thanks bv, I will put it on sku's cheese list. Raw is good.