Heh. I really shouldn’t have named my regular review “Cheese of the Week”. One, it’s a boring name. Two, it sounds like something a million other cheese blogs would do and three, it was really just about whatever cheese I was obsessing over behind the counter — not an attempt at an unsubjective “best cheese in the case” or anything. That hasn’t stopped people from trying to suggest I mention their cheese, of course, but this is purely for fun, not an attempt at a well-rounded representation of great cheeses.
Any good ideas for a name change? “Gordon’s purely arbitrary cheese obsession of the week” is more like it, but a little long. This was my original disclaimer, maybe I should just post it every time:
(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.)
Anyways, David Grimmels honored us with a visit on Friday. While his Rogue River Blue was probably a repeat “Gordon’s purely arbitrary cheese obsession of the week” this week* (along with the amazing Vacherin Mont D’or-y Tomme du Jura, and the truly awesome Spicherhalde (always alpage!) I am not going to choose it. Hey, it’s my website.And really, this close to the food holidays, every cheese is cheese of the week
No, I am going with the I-don’t-think-it’s-for-sale-yet-and-I-don’t-know-anything-about-it Mount Mazama that David gave me a sample of. It’s a goat and cow milk blended Cheddar and I am in love already. It’s the kind of cheese that makes you wonder why no one has done it before. There are not a lot of great Cheddars on the West Coast (Fiscalini and Beechers who else?) but I think we are going to add this one to the pantheon. Fruity, shardy, sharp, and rich. Awesome.
*I sold some to some snooty French people claiming to be unimpressed with American cheese
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!