I was introduced to this little wonder by Danika, owner, cheesemonger and font of cheese knowlege at Vivant Fine Cheese in downtown Paso Robles, CA (more on that amazing operation in just a few days).
As far as I can tell, it’s the only cheese from the Central Coast Creamery that they don’t actually make themselves: they have it made to their specifications in Holland, age it for 4 months and bring it back for us to enjoy.
A relatively soft sheep’s milk cheese that still is toothsome enough to hold up well with surprisngly long and lasting mouthfeel. It doesn’t possess a strong nose, but it does show a soft, enticing scent that comes to its natural fruition on the first bite.
The flavor is confounding in the best possible way. I can’t really say it’s like anything more commonplace that might spring to mind (Gouda, etc…), but it’s smooth with a lot of presence, unexpectedly sweet and nutty at the same time and right up front, until those notes start to fade and a supple creaminess remains. It finishes strong with that note, punching above its weight in richness.
This would go really well with some of the bigger, more stand-up-take-notice whites from the same area (Hahn’s SLH Chard, for example, or a Blue Steel Chard from D’alfonso Curran, a bit further south, or Points West White from Lone Madrone)
It would probably get you a knowing nod or questions at a party with fellow cheese fans, but the way I prefer to serve it is, well, to myself.
It’s that good on its own and even better with a little imagination.