01
Oct
09

Episode 6: The Sweetest Decline

So I couldn’t help think of this Beth Orton song as we sat on the stoop on this lovely fall day…

This is second to last of the webcam videos – Flip cam has been purchased!  Hope the sound issues will be resolved!  Something’s up with our lips not matching the words in this one.

So as I said before, I got a bit fed up with Spanish cheeses and wanted to move on a bit, so I swung by  Fromaggio, aka cheese heaven in Massachusetts!  They are the bomb.  Everyone there was really nice and I’m probably going to go film instore now that we’re mobile 🙂

I’m joined today by my amazing friend Bonnie (she does the very cool worldwide altruistic games).

Here’s what we ate:

1. Constant Bliss from Jasper Hill Farm.  Jasper Hill is officially the isht in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom (that region hasn’t changed in the last 200 years – it’s crazy quaint).  Everyone there says they make the best cheese.  Here’s some info from their website:

“Constant Bliss is based on a Chaource recipe, which we modified to suit our production schedule and cheesemaking facility. The result is a cheese which hardly even resembles a Chaource. It is a slow ripened lactic curd made only with fresh, right out of the cow, uncooled, evening milk. We actually begin the cheesemaking process before the cows have finished milking. Constant Bliss is made with raw whole milk. This is not a double or triple crème cheese as is sometimes thought. Seasonal variations in the milk result in variations on the surface and flavor of the cheese. We like to use Constant Bliss to highlight our milk, and rather than overpowering the natural microflora of our milk with cotton white mold, we prefer to see a mottling of diverse molds and yeasts, which are prevalent particularly in the summer months when the cows are out on grass. It is aged 60 days before it leaves the farm, and is a ‘sell it or smell it’ item for retailers.”

It’s also darn purdy to look at.constant bliss

It has a dense creamy interior with ‘hints of hay’…here’s the deal…I know it’s supposed to be amazing – but we just kinda thought it was ok.  It’s a bit too dense …I dunno…maybe it wasn’t right for the moment.  This is one of the few fancy cheeses I’ve had before actually and thought it was awesome the first time around.

Here’s a semi-funny aside on Jasper Hill Farm:  Bob and I took a trip to Vermont where we asked everyone what the best cheese to buy is…EVERYONE said Jasper Hill’s Baily Blue and constant bliss.  So Bob and I took off driving around the Northeast Kingdom for almost 5 hours to find the damn cheese.  It took forever and we went to every backwoods (again quaint, this is Vermont people) general store we could til we found them.  I was sick as a dog too.   Then, a few months ago we decide to go into Fromaggio – two blocks from our house- and they were right there doh!  It’s called a supply chain numbnuts!

2. Toledo from Estremadura part of Portugal – just north of Lisbon.  Seriously folks – I beginning to think you can only make cheese in places that are stupid beautiful:portugal

This is (according to Fromaggio) a sweet, spicy, zesty little number made form a blend of cow, sheep and goat milk and then ribbed with paprika as it ages.

Sorry Portugal, this was a dull cheese.  Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz  I didn’t even taste the paprika, like the best spice ever!

3. Saint Maure de Touraine – GO BUY THIS RIGHT NOW!!!!!  This is an awesomely tasty cheese.  It’s my first good French cheese on the show and what a way to start ( so much better than that Boursault ‘bleach cheese’ disaster).

Fromaggio say it’s a young French version of the classic (no idea what the classic is).

It’s a goat cheese with an ash rind that so moist it practically melts into liquid.  It’s so soft they have to put a piece of straw through it to hold it together. It’s from the Loire Valley (25 miles south of Tours the Vienne, Creuse and Indre rivers come together to make good soil for the goats – the Vienne passes near a little town called Sainte-Maure – named after a little know female saint) and is a name protected chevre (goat cheese).   All of these cheeses have 5-8 log shape and are sometimes ashed.   All done by hand.  Can’t believe it somehow survived to make it into a neighborhood shop!!!  Here’s a tasty close up from wikipedia ( ok it looks gross and moldy – but it’s so good!):

Fromage_sainte-maure-de-tourraine1

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