Soft, Stinky, and Delicious Cheese

This time of year is one of my favorites chiefly because I get to bring in so many more kinds of cheese than I usually do for the Cheese Shop.  And that of course means it’s time to bring in some softies, particularly some stinky softies, my secret favorite of all the cheeses.  I’m a bit reticent to admit it it since we don’t make any washed-rinds but I can’t lie, they are my favorite.  I love the way they look, they smell, the paradoxical way that they are usually so mild to the tongue but potent to the nose, everything about them really.

For this year, we have expanded into a nice little line up of soft-ripened and washed-rind cheeses for the holidays.  WIthout a doubt the best we have ever offered.  Below there is featured two of our offerings and we have several others including Uplands Cheese’s Rush Creek Reserve, Ardrahan from Ireland and Gabietou from France.  Be sure to ask for a taste the next time you are in the Cheese Shop but be warned, supplies are very limited and I don’t expect too many to make it to next year.

Epoisses de Bourgogne

Few cheeses truly approach life-altering status, despite countless hyperbole to the contrary.  But there are few turophiles out there who could possibly argue with Epoisses’ place on the short list of truly life-changing cheeses.  A perfectly-ripened wheel, with its’ characteristically bright red-orange rind and pungently heady aroma, comes as close to perfection as a cheese can get.  At room temperature, this cheese is unbelievably creamy with a flavor that takes the milk from sweet to salty, paradoxically mild with a richness sure to warm you up to the bone. $25.99 per wheel

Cowgirl Creamery’s “Red Hawk”

From the northern lands of California, this washed-rind gem is one of the best stinkers in the States as far as I am concerned.  These guys have been setting the bar for many years and we are thrilled to finally have them full-time in the Cheese Shop.  This cheese, as Cowgirl Creamery puts it, “strives to capture the essence of West Marin” and as a frequent visitor to that area I must say, well-played Cowgirl.  If you have ever seen a sunset in Marin County, CA, you will easily see it echoed in the rind of this beautiful cheese.