Brebiou, Picobello, Chaumes

Tasting notes

Cheese school starts next week and to “warm up” for it, I decided I would formally taste new cheeses. Not that I have not indulged in wonderful cheese all summer, but I did it with enjoyment in mind, and was not very good at all with writing tasting notes.

My next course will be taught by the wonderful Joanne Chimenti (@joannechimenti). After introducing us to the world of cheese last fall, she will take us on a journey to pairings. I will be joined in my learnings by my very dear friend Lindsay aka Miss @kitchenoperas, and by a very good colleague of mine. Can you tell I’m excited yet???

So, today, as I was shopping for and tasting my cheeses of the week, I could not help thinking about what I would pair them with.

I shopped at my local cheesemongers, The Cheese Boutique. To me, this is the food-lover’s equivalent of Toys-R-Us… Filled to the brim with delicious things. And lots of cheese. So, without further ado…

Sheep, Basque Region (France), 4 weeks of wet aging
Appearance: Soft, creamy, bloomy rind cheese, creamy and shiny in the nail, moving to matte, creamy and firm towards the centre
Aroma: Mild, lactic, yogurt, honey, clover
Flavour: Sweet, lactic, crême fraîche, hint of lemon, sweet
I really really liked this cheese. Very fresh, clean tasting, with a surprisingly long finish. I see it paring well with lemon, beets and roasted almonds. Champagne or a wheat beer would work well too.

Goat, Holland, aged 3 years by Cheese Boutique
Appearance: Firm paste, dry rind, peachy paste, darker/greyish near the rind, tiny flecks of tyrosine
Aroma: Very mild, musty near the rind, brown butter, brown sugar
Flavour: Brown butter, onion, miso, caramel
This is a dry cheese that becomes creamy in the mouth, it is quite pleasant and complex and has a medium-long finish. Worked pretty well with port, but not a perfect match. Brown, caramelly beers would be nice. This is a Gouda-style cheese and would be great in a grilled cheese sandwich with pears and ham.

Cow, Périgord (France), 4 weeks of affinage
Appearance: Tacky, tangerine colour rind, light yellow paste with numerous small air bubbles
Aroma: Medium-intense, butter, hay, broth
Flavour: Grilled bread, honey, mushroom, onion, cabbage, very slight ammonia (not unpleasant)
This was my first Chaumes and I really liked it. It is the perfect match to fresh, crusty bread. Roasted chestnuts would pair well with it, as would pears and apples.