Saving the best for last
After a very long work day while host to a cold, driving home in rush-hour traffic and pouring rain, then coming home to a dark and empty house....what would you long for? If you were me, it would be a little white box sitting on your fence post that read "Perishable" and a hard to find winter warmer beer.
My little white box contained the latest and last installment of the "Birth of a Cheese" series by Point Reyes Dairy and Culture Magazine. A lovely "mystery" blue that I was chomping at the bit to pair with the Founders Backwoods Bastard ale I had securely in my possession. The last blue Point Reyes sent me was very lovely, but admittedly not my favorite. This blue was a world apart.
At first glance the appearance was similar to "mystery #1", with a pale yellow creamy look, gorgeous even blue veining, and a straw colored rind. The smell was slightly stronger. Spicy and sweet, like fresh hay. But the first bite was a revelation, so much more than batch one. The texture was incredibly luscious and dense, almost chewy. It was everything I hope for in a blue. The flavors from center to rind varied from brown sugar and young hay to damp earth and roasted nuts. The rind was subtle and totally edible.
After first bite, I immediately grabbed up my Founders, a whopping 10.2% alcohol ale aged in Bourbon barrels. The sweet caramel and vanilla tones practically made love to the earthy grassy flavors of the blue. I couldn't think of a better beverage to pair with it, except for possibly a sweet hard cider.
The following day I used some of the blue on a crusty baguette with romaine lettuce, mayonnaise, mustard, and rare roast beef for hot melty sandwiches. Then for a snack I paired a small wedge with rosy colored and sugary sweet muscadine preserves. Worked equally as well for cooking as did a table cheese. This will be a cheese I will for sure be eagerly waiting for at my cheese counter.