We have the very good fortune to have some very generous neighbors. A woman with whom Janine plays cards one night a week most weeks gave us three cheeses earlier this week. Because I want to remember them for future reference (if I can find them—these were sent to her by distant progeny), I am writing about them here.
Abondance: A semi-hard raw milk cheese made in France. It is aged for a minimum of ninety days on specially produced spruce boards. According to cheese.com: “It has a strong smell and an intensely fruity, buttery and hazelnut flavour, with balance of acidity and sweetness, followed by a lingering aftertaste. Unearth an aroma of nutty vegetation as you slice the cheese. However, remember the crust including the gray layer beneath, should be removed before eating.” Though I agree with the description, I did not remove the crust; I like the crust as much as the cheese.
Cabra la Prudenciana: This Spanish cheese is a stronger, more powerful cheese than the Abondance, but I like it as much. Janine is not as fond of it as I; this is good, as I get to eat the rest of it. According to Zuercher Cheese on Tumblr, “Cabra La Prudenciana has a compact paste with tiny eye formation. Although slightly granular at first, it warms up nicely on the palate. Unexpectedly buttery for a goat’s milk cheese, Cabra La Prudenciana reminds one of its sheepy cousins. We are especially delighted that this cheese remains unpasteurized. The flavor begins with a fresh, tangy, salty bite, then lingers and mellows into a goaty, herbal finish.”
Shepherd’s Blend: This cheese, from Carr Valley Cheese Company in Wisconsin, is a sheep, goat and cow milk cheese cured for 10 weeks, so says the Carr Valley Cheese website. They go on to say “it has a soft body and a subtle, complex flavor. Excellent melting cheese and great in any recipe!”
I had samples of each this afternoon, along with a few large green olives stuffed with garlic and jalapeño. It was the appropriate snack for the day, for me, and for this century. It just worked.