Tasting Tuesday: Point Reyes Cheeses
Each week we taste a sampling of cheeses in our Cambridge office and discuss their flavors, textures, and our general impressions of them. Yum!
Point Reyes Original Blue
Cow's Milk - California
Jesi - This one tastes like the salty ocean air, with a sweet, tangy attack and a velvety smooth mouthfeel. I always love this cheese, because it really transports me to the place where it's made; one taste, and I'm standing on the beach on a chilly, foggy morning.
Lauren - This bold cheese has strong briny flavors, but will not overwhelm your palate. A nice roundness and balance makes this the type of cheese I could happily snack on all day, but would also be a great counterpart to something meaty--like a perfectly-grilled burger!
Amy - This cheese has an almost briny flavor to it. It's salty, young, and sharp. The texture is smooth and creamy with lots of milkiness that you start to notice once your palate gets past the blue. It's very bold and I'd prefer to use it in uncooked preparations such as salads or on top of a burger.
Kate E. - This cheese is incredibly creamy. It's sweet-ish, but not overwhelming. There are pockets of a really bright flavor, and it isn't the musty, basement mold that anti-blue-cheese folks might be expecting. It's fresh and green tasting. This belongs on a burger, or maybe a grilled steak.
Amanda - This is the kind of thing you know should never change because it's so good! It has these blue-green veins, which isn't a turnoff at all, but adds to its beauty. The taste is tart and sour and I'd like to crumble it with my fingers on a burger or salad with craisins and walnuts. Very creamy, melts in your mouth, iconic.
Becca - Smells briny, reminiscent of the ocean (in a nice, summer breeze kind of way, not a low tide way). A very creamy blue, that also packs a punch with a sharp tang at the end. Would be great for cooking, especially in mac and cheese.
Final thought by Amanda:
It made me fall in love with cheese all over again.
Point Reyes Bay Blue
Cow's Milk - Wisconsin
Jesi - A good bit sweeter than Original Blue, but the sweetness develops slowly. The attack is toasty, like roasted nuts, but the flavor begins to remind me of butterscotch the longer it sits on my tongue. The texture is firmer, grainy and crumbly--another big departure from the Original Blue.
Lauren - Point Reyes' newer offering is--paradoxically--the elegant, more sophisticated sister of their Original Blue. Against a perfectly-aged toasty caramel backdrop, the blue cheese veins add a dash of drama. With subtle sweetness, Bay Blue would be a great addition to an after-dinner cheese plate.
Amy - Such a difference from the Original Blue. This guy is sweet, with lots of caramel flavors, but still has a hint of ocean to it. It's very rich, but mellow. I'd love to use this in a gratin or devils on horseback.
Kate E. - I felt really comfortable with this cheese. I realize temperature isn't the same as flavor, but this cheese just tastes warm to me. A little reminiscent of Parmesan with its salty taste and slightly course texture. This is a snacking cheese. Or a meal cheese. Who says you can't have a dinner of cheese?
Amanda - This was sweet and had a slight caramel taste. It was very crumbly and judging by the amount left after the tasting, seemed to be the most popular.The natural rind melts in your mouth.
Becca - Smells musty, basement-y, earthy; you can tell it's been aged. Super crumbly with some crystals, which was a nice surprise. The mold had a noticeable texture, unlike the Original Blue.
Final thought by Amy:
It's toasty and warming, like the woodsmoke from a campfire.
Point Reyes Toma
Cow's Milk - Wisconsin
Jesi - Salty and savory with a creamy, melty texture. I didn't find this one particularly exciting on its own, but I think it would be perfect in a root vegetable gratin; the saltiness would be a great counterpoint to the sweetness of caramelized vegetables.
Kate E. - This cheese tastes like a big loaf of crusty French bread. It would also be a great dessert cheese, maybe paired with some berries. I bet it will melt well in a sandwich (HINT) but it doesn't melt in your mouth like the other cheeses do.
Amy - Pasty and smooth with a flavor reminiscent of Gouda. It's tangy, very salty, and a bit yeasty. There's a little bit of an iron or rust flavor to it, and not in an unpleasant way. I'd love to pair it with something fresh and crisp like a tart apple.
Lauren - With a slightly musty rind and wonderfully yeasty smell, this Toma is straightforward without being boring: a definite crowd-pleaser.
Amanda - I could see shaved-thin slivers in a salad to make it look really gorgeous. It would go well on a ham sandwich or panini.
Becca - Smells yeasty, like bread dough. Velvety mouthfeel, yet slightly chewy. A very strange, plasticky flavor by the rind, but otherwise had slightly grassy, lemony notes and was reminiscent of a young Gouda. A simple, table cheese.
Final thought by Lauren:
The kind of cheese Huck Finn would have liked: pack this one in your ruck sack along with a hunk of bread, an apple, and a nice dark stout.