Monday, April 6, 2009

Cut the Cheese!

Today was a "rough day at the office." I sat around tasting milk, yogurt, cheese and then made fresh ricotta and mozzarella. I don't generally look forward to Mondays since it's a recovery day from the weekend, but I was truly excited to go to class today. I <3 cheese almost as much as I love sweets/desserts! I've never experienced a real cheese tasting aside from sampling at cheese counters.

I started off tasting cow, goat and sheep's milk. If you've never tasted fresh, grass-fed cow's milk before, I suggest you track some down at the local farmer's market. I've always been a skim or non-fat milk girl, but fresh cow's milk is SO DELICIOUS. It's sweet, creamy, smooth and has that awesome "real milk" taste. I don't really know how else to describe it. It's how milk is suppose to taste before all the lower fat and substitutes were invented. I'm not a fan of goat milk because it tastes a bit barnyard-ish/goat-y. Sheep's milk was pretty good, but paled in comparison to the fresh cow's milk. The various yogurts tasted pretty similar to how the respective milk tasted.

Then I moved to the cheese. I think there were 21 samples in total...and although they were small bites, I felt a bit sick after tasting all of them. My absolute favorite was the Boerenkaas Gouda, a firm cow's milk cheese from the Netherlands. It's soaked in brind and aged for 2 years to create a sweet, buttery, caramel taste. Pineapple and butterscotch come to mind when tasting. I reallllly liked this cheese. Highly recommended. It's a bit milder so even non-cheese lovers probably wouldn't mind it. I even tried blue cheeses, which I typically don't like. However, I'm willing to admit there are probably some milder ones that I could tolerate eating...with lots of bread and wine. :)

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