Cheese Plate of the Week February 25th 2008

Humboldt Fog: Goat, Humboldt County, California
-Perhaps the most recognizable of all American farmstead cheese, Humboldt Fog is made in Cypress Grove by Mary Keehn. A layer of ash, representing the fog that rolls through Humboldt County every morning, contributes to the aesthetics. Of the numerous awards and recognitions it has received, perhaps the most noble is that it was the first cheese exported from the United States into France.

Cacio al Tartufo: Sheep, Tuscany, Italy
-When your native region is world-renowned for its ability to produce pecorino, and has done so for over two millennia, sometimes the only way to improve upon a masterpiece is to cheat. So the producers at Il Fortetto studded their already acclaimed pecorino with shavings of black winter truffles. The truffles serve to accent the mushroom earthiness already apparent in Tuscan pecorino, but do not overwhelm the sweet, olive, grassy flavors or the floral nose.

Juranimo: Raw Cow, Jura, France
-While the name label (a bow crossed with two arrows) might imply that this is a new-age American cheese, Juranimo is actually a faithful rendition of Comte, the French Gruyere. It is of remarkable texture, ideal for shaving thin or melting, but its flavor steals the show. Big in fruit and butter, it is easily enjoyed with fresh fruit, au gratin or melted over onion soup.

Stichelton: Raw Cow, Nottinghamshire, England
-While this cheese has made several appearances on the CPOTW, no two wheels are the same, especially in its infancy. Since our last posting, Stichelton is now pierced more evenly by machine, resulting in more balanced bluing. A different starter culture has also been employed, and the resulting batch is temptingly creamy with big, bittersweet chocolate characteristics.