Cheese Plate of the Week January 21st 2008

Roccolo: Raw Cow, Piemonte, Italy
-A rich, nutty table cheese, Roccolo is prized as much for its flavor as it is for its texture. A firm, natural rind conceals a supple brie texture whose density prevents the maturation of the core, which is young, tart and crumbly. Taste each texture individually, and then combine them with one bite. Great with Valpolicella, Barbera or Nebbiolo-based wines.

Testun al Barolo: Raw mixed-milk, Piemonte, Italy
-While primarily sheep milk, the shortage of quality milk in the Piemonte has forced cheese makers to blend what is available. Hence this Testun is a combination of cow, goat and sheep milk. What make sit so unique, however, is that it is washed with Barolo wine, and then has the Nebbiolo grape skins, stems and seeds pressed right into the rind. The striking visual is rivaled only by the exquisite taste. The natural sharpness of this year-old cheese is contrasted perfectly by the sweetness of the wine.

Mimolette:Cow, Flanders, France
-In 1672, Louis XIV imposed an embargo on the Dutch for their attacks on the border cities of France. This action offered little by the way of historical consequence, but it did enable the invention of Mimolette. The people of Flanders, who dined routinely on imported Dutch Gouda, created Mimolette to appease their appetites. Were it not for the extreme differences in appearance, Mimolette and Gouda would be hard to distinguish. Mimolette have a cantaloupe shape and rind color with brilliant orange innards. Aged for two years, it is slightly sharp and sweet, making it an ideal after dinner cheese.

Rogue River Smokey Blue: Cow, Oregon, U.S.A.
-A finalist at the N.A.S.F.T. 2006 New Cheese Category, this is by far one of the most unique cheeses in our inventory. While the idea of a smoked blue might sound gimmicky, this distinguishes itself from other smoked cheeses in that it is actually a quality cheese prior to smoking. Smoked over chipped apple wood, it is intensely layered, and superb in a variety of applications.