Tag Archives: cheese of the week

Cheese of the Week: Anton’s Red Love and Franklin’s Washed-Rind Teleme

I’m on vacation, but I am going to write about two cheeses before I head off to the Russian River.* Both cheeses are pink and stinky and two of my new favorites.

Anton’s Red Love is a polarizing cheese. Not because of its luscious butterfat, notice-me stink, and balance of flavor. No, almost everyone I sampled it to loved the cheese. It’s polarizing because of its label. Don’t believe me, check it out:

This is right up in my top three disturbing cheese labels. Number one is still the child porn Taleggio but I think Red Love moves to number two, supplanting the emaciated sheep about to commit cannibalism on a Manchego. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I love this label.** But about half the cheese workers at the store looked at me like I was crazy to use this label (which I laminated) as a display. That the cheese feeder is the cheesemakers daughter (supposedly) makes it even more awesome in my mind. Get your heads out of the gutter, people! It’s sweet. Just because Folsom St. is this weekend doesn’t mean the label promotes feeder-fetishes.

If you want an awesome stinky cheese, seek out Anton’s Red Love.

In other stinky news, Franklin Peluso sent us a square of the washed rind Teleme he’s been working on for awhile. I may have written this before, but the contrast between multi-generation cheesemakers Sid Cook (Carr Valley Cheese) and Franklin Peluso is amazing. In the time it took to write this entry, Sid Cook – who already makes about 150 cheeses*** — has probably already invented, tested and marketed two new cheeses. Franklin, however, made only his second kind of Teleme ever a few years ago…. He added pepper to it! This is his third cheese**** and it is long-anticipated by Bay Area cheese lovers.

Now, you and me, we can admit that a washed-rind Teleme is a Taleggio, right? Even if name-control-wise we can’t call it that. I mean geez, I’ve been selling Teleme as “Taleggio without the washed rind” for a decade and a half now….

This sample cheese was awesome. It was falling apart a little. But that was because the ooze factor was so high. Like Teleme, this is not a strong cheese, despite the stink, but a rich slightly pungent one that is super hard to stop eating.

I brought our remaining sample to the Bay Area Cheesemonger party last week where it was well-received for sure. (Thanks for the party Christine Bayuga!)
franklin's washed-rind Teleme

Can’t wait to get it on the shelf.

*We accidently booked a place on the Russian River for Folsom Street Fair weekend. Will it be deserted or packed with people fleeing the city?
**Not to be confused with I Love My Label
***Exaggeration for effect.
**** Well, he did make a short-lived cow/sheep version with Rinconada Dairy, but that was just the regular Teleme with mixed milk.
****Oh what the heck, here’s a close up!
******This entry written while listening to the amazing John Cooper Clarke

Cheese of the week: Rupert and Harley Farms Honey Lavender

Consider Bardwell Rupert
I’m going to pick another Consider Bardwell cheese as one of my cheeses of the week. Rupert is awesome. Made from raw Jersey milk, it’s an Alpine-style cheese that combines the pungency and bite of a well-aged Gruyere with a richness and sweetness not often found in this style cheese. We won’t have this cheese often – since it’s not really distributed out here — so I really enjoyed sampling it out.

My apologies for not getting a picture of the beautiful wheel. We just went through it too quick.

One thing I did find surprising about this cheese – and my only negative in what is otherwise and American masterpiece (Indeed, the Rupert tied for 3rd Place at the 2009 ACS competition where I was a judge) – is that is dried out very quickly. It’s a hard, pressed cheese and usually we can leave a piece of this class of cheese out all day and it just gets better. The Rupert, after a couple of hours of exposure to air became a little grainy and waxy. I would say this is a great cheese plate cheese (as well as an awesome melter) but I actually wouldn’t leave it out unwrapped for too long before serving.

Harley Farms Fresh Chevre with Honey and Lavender
The other cheese that is always super fun to offer out is the Harley Farms fresh chevre with honey and lavender. Just like what it sounds like, the great thing about this cheese is the light hand the cheesemaker had. Lavender is kind of an “it” ingredient theses days but in a lot of food it just tastes like you’re eating at your hippie friend’s house who didn’t rinse off his plates after washing them with Dr. Bronner’s. The chevre has a great milky tang, the honey a rich sweetness, and the lavender just enough floral aroma and flavor to compliment everything else.

$3.99 is definitely not the price for these. Do not get confused by the picture.
Harley Farms chevre

After more than a decade of eating Harley Farms cheese (and Sea Stars before that) I didn’t think I could have a new favorite from Dee’s farm, but I do.

Cheese of the Week: Rogue River Blue and Coupole

Rogue Creamery — Rogue River Blue:

So, with the results of the American Cheese Society Competition coming through, it would be impossible not to name Rogue River Blue as a Cheese of the Week. Rogue River just became only the second cheese to win the ACS Best of Show (Pleasant Ridge Reserve has won three times) and, while variety of winners is nice, this cheese is one of the elite American cheeses. It could be named Best of Show every year and it would be hard to squawk about it.

Seasonally made, wrapped in pear brandy-soaked grape leaves, Rogue River Blue is simply a tremendous cheese: Raw milk, sweet, earthy, fruity, grassy, rich and with a perfectly balanced amount of bluing. It’s just amazing; a cheese that you taste and say, “Now I get why people go crazy about cheese.” I was a judge when Rogue River won the first time so – since I wasn’t in Montreal this year – here’s the post I made about that year’s awards ceremony.

Also, it’s a wonderful tribute to Ig Vella’s continuing influence that this wonderful cheese won best of show again.

Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery – Coupole
My other cheese of the week is one that we almost always carry. It sells steadily and many people know it well so we don’t push it as much as other, less established cheeses. However, I had a distributor call me with one of those OMG-we-have-too-many-cases-of-this-and-they-are-about-to-expire phone calls so I bought about four times as much as we usually get.

We all know that – much of the time — a distributor’s “about to expire” is a cheesemonger’s “almost perfectly ripe”.

This cheese can get neglected because Bonne Bouche – its sister cheese made by the same company – is stronger, creamier and demands more attention. But the Coupole is just as good in a quieter way. Tangy, lactic, earthy and substantial. It’s a classic ripened goat cheese in a French style (think round mini Bucheron – but with the ropey geotrichum mold that makes it look like a little brain), one of the best examples of its style available in this country. I sampled this out all day on Saturday and heard nothing but love. Sometimes — when you work with cheese all the time – you have to take time to remember the cheese that kind of sells itself.

Hi Coupole. Sorry if you felt unappreciated. You’re awesome and I really like you. I’m sorry I took you for granted.

Here is a pantheon of great cheese in the back of our rental car in 2006. (L-r: Franklin’s Teleme, Bonne Bouche, Coupole, and Bijou) I forgot that the Coupole was originally ashed on the outside!

Cheese of the Week

Avalanche Cheese Lamborn Bloomers

One of the best new (to me) cheeses that we’ve had in a long time is the Lamborn Bloomers from Avalanche Cheese in Colorado. Seriously, this is one of the best U.S.-made, soft-ripened goat cheeses I’ve ever tasted. Basically it’s a goat Robiola: oozy, milky, fattily satisfying, but it has a depth and complexity not often found in this type of cheese. Lamborn Bloomers is grassy, vegetal, potato-y, and has just enough goaty-tang to remind you what you are eating. Seriously awesome cheese.

Unfortunately – outside of Colorado – the name is somewhat baffling and is one of the ones that makes customers laugh at you when you recommend it (See “Ewephoria”, “Ewe-nique,” and “Fromage-a-Trois”). Using “lamb” in any cheese name will make people assume it is made with sheep milk, especially with the mandatory pun-names assigned to sheep milk cheeses according to the CFR.* Secondly, it sounds like something you would put on baby sheep to ensure their modesty. Third, I was also secretly worried that perhaps the cheese was named after Colorado’s idiot Tea Party Congressman. If it was, I didn’t want to know. The cheese is just that good.

But no, half a minute of internet research shows that the dairy and farm have beautiful “views of Lamborn Mesa”. Whew… I can eat it without worrying again.

*Just kidding. And I don’t mean that as a goat pun.
**I think I’ll just break down and get a new charger for my camera battery instead of just hoping I’ll find it soon. I think this would be better with pictures, don’t you?

(I decided that every week after I work a Saturday behind the counter that I will make a post about my favorite cheeses of the week. This is not a promotional thing; sometimes they may even be out of stock by the time I write this. I just want to share the cheese love. There will be pictures if I remember to bring my camera. If I don’t there won’t. Basically, these will just be the cheese that I most enjoyed sampling out to cheese lovers over the weekend.)

Cheese of the Week

My cheeses of the week

(I decided that every week after I work a Saturday behind the counter that I will make a post about my favorite cheeses of the week. This is not a promotional thing; sometimes they may even be out of stock by the time I write this. I just want to share the cheese love. There will be pictures if I remember to bring my camera. If I don’t there won’t. Basically, these will just be the cheeses that I most enjoyed sampling out to cheese lovers over the weekend.)

Bleating Heart Shepherdista:
It’s bee a long wait since the last time Seana had sheep cheese available, but it’s worth it. She toyed with the idea of calling it “Barely Legal” since it’s raw milk and just over 60 days, but this cheese needs no novelty name. You – the cheese public — do need to appreciate it more though. It’s amazingly complex for such a young cheese. Rich, milky-sweet, and lemony in a green peppercorn kind of way.

Consider Bardwell Manchester:
Washed rind, raw, goat milk cheese from Vermont. I actually haven’t had a cheese from Consider Bardwell that I don’t think its amazing, but this is my favorite. You can smell it’s there when you unwrap it, but it’s not too intense. Semi-soft, big flavor, earthy, slight pungency… just awesome. I am bummed that we will run out of this soon.

*It has nothing to do with the cheese, but saying “Shepherdista” so much put this great Clash song in my head: