Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake

Have yourself a cheesey little Christmas

After the various festivities at Rancho Lake yesterday, I enjoyed a lovely Christmas dinner with karindira, her family and her friend T. Her Eldest cooked a sumptuous meal, her father hung a nude portrait of her mother on the wall, and I brought cheese -- all in all, a typical holiday gathering, methinks. karindira had laid on a lovely platter of meats, cheeses and olives, to which I added the craft cheeses I'd recent procured. Her amusing description of the festivities can be read here.

I brought four cheeses from Pastaworks, plus a loaf of Pearl Street Parisienne, which was much improved by five minutes in a warm oven as it was by necessity a day old. I'd brought St Marcellin, as karindira had loved it so much at the recent holiday party. It performed as advertised, and was wiped out fairly early. The new cheeses were as follows:

Pastor Picón


There was also an aggressive blue, a mixed-milk (cow and sheep) Spanish cheese known as Pastor Picón, more fully described here. This is a very aggressive blue, with much finer veining than the average blue, and a slightly gritty texture. It's also quite salty. The extremely strong bleu flavor worked very well for me, but not for the faint of heart (or faint of mold, either). At one point I went into flavor overdrive, putting it over pesto with capicolla ham from elsewhere on the table.

Old Amsterdam Gouda


This will always be one of the anchor cheeses. Gouda, more fully described here, is a classic Dutch cow's milk cheese with a smooth, strong, slightly sharp flavor and lovely texture. It's wonderful straight up, on bread or crackers, or as a cooking cheese. Very loosely speaking, it's sort of a compromise between cheddar and the pale farmhouse cheeses. Note that aged Gouda is a very different beast, also tasty.



Another anchor cheese, though far less widely available than Gouda, Ostallois is a pale Spanish farm-style cow's milk cheese with a nice buttery flavor and friendly texture. This is a good basic cheese, though it did little to distinguish itself from other, similar cheeses I've had of late. I hold no brief against it at all, but the Ostallois did not stand out for me either. It was fairly popular at the cheese board, though, so others liked it. See here for more detail.
Tags: cheese, personal

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