Celebrating Cheese from Across the Globe
The range of cheese available throughout the world is unfathomable. Dating back over more than 4000 years, it’s no wonder the evolution of cheese has created a plethora of texture, flavour and aroma for us to enjoy…….aren’t we lucky!
The exact origin of cheese is unknown, but it was thought the first cheese was accidently created by an Arabian merchant travelling long distance across the desert. He had used a sheep’s stomach as a pouch to transport his milk. The combination of enzymes from the stomach lining and the heat of the sun, were thought to have caused the milk to separate into curds and whey. As all food producers, the merchant thought the curd he made was absolutely delicious and the whey was thirst quenching. What a discovery he had made.
At Barossa Cheese this month, we have looked into a sliver of this extensive international cheese list, to see how they vary between countries and what unique features they bring to the cheese world. We treated our taste buds to cheeses from America, United Kingdom, and various European countries, with a diversity of characteristics.
United States of America
When most people picture American Cheese, they usually think of bright yellow plastic cheese, with minimal character and flavour, full of artificial ingredients. However, the American cheese world offers some incredible, unique and distinguished cheeses that can’t be missed. Definitely do yourself a favour and explore some of these cheeses they have to offer. One particular company, Rogue River Creamy, who cave age their cheese and use certified sustainable milk, produce some incredible blues. We tried the Caveman Blue, which is sweet in flavour, extremely creamy, and has a rich buttery texture. Smokey Blue (the first of its kind in the world), is another of their cheeses not to be missed. Cold-smoked over hazelnuts, this cheese can be compared to candied bacon and is perfect for eating on its own or used in various recipes (I know I can’t wait to try it out on a burger!). Two other cheese highlights showcasing America’s fantastic collection are Sartori’s Bellavitano Espresso (a cow’s milk semihard, with rind rubbed in roasted espresso) and Cabot Cheddar (a cow’s milk cheddar with hints of caramel). Look out for all these four American cheeses coming to our shelves at BVCC soon!
From the UK, we tried a variety of classic British cheese styles including Wensleydale and Red Leicester. One unique cheese, Cornish Yarg, was particularly intriguing as the outside of the cheese was wrapped in nettles. But the standout cheese would be Coolea from Ireland. This cheese is the one of the closest matches to an authentic Dutch Gouda and has incredible caramel notes. Keep an eye out for this one on the shelves of BVCC as well!
Where do we even start with European cheese?! With such a vast and variable collection over this continent, thankfully Sophie from Calendar Cheese was able to give us a few tips on which to select. Of course we had to treat ourselves to multiple from France. With their incredible reputation and meticulous traditions, French cheese is definitely something to be savoured. On our list we had Rouzaire Coulommiers, Jacquin Traditional du berry, and another that some people may hesitate to approach-Fleur de Marquis. This particular cheese is a semi-soft ewe cheese coated in rosemary, fennel seeds and juniper berries. Fleur de Marquis means “flower of the marquis”, which is the thick rough underbrush where highway robbers and guerrilla fighters would hang out. The further this cheese matures, it develops a very funky outer layer of deep grey-blue mould. Although it may look out of the ordinary, it is definitely worth trying as it displays fresh citrus notes, with mild hints of rosemary that lingers on the palette. We also delved into some authentic cheeses from Italy, Switzerland, and Belgium. These included, cave-matured Tallegio, Gruyere AOP, and Chimay a la Biere (a beer washed semi-hard).
Compared to the immense selection of cheese available throughout the world, we only just skimmed the surface! However, it was a great start to taste some unique and special cheeses that are on offer internationally and we can’t wait to taste a few more off our bucket list! Keep an eye out for our posts and the blog addition during November, as we will be sussing out what our own backyard has to offer…Aussie Cheese Month!
Happy Cheese Tasting!