Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day Three Hundred and Three : Spotlight on Queso del Invierno

Heard of Vermont Shepherd cheese? It's a fabulous sheep's milk cheese from Vermont and is somewhat of a locavore cultish product -- only available for purchase from late August through the beginning of February, that is if you are one of the lucky ones. What happens if you're not?

Why not try Vermont Shepherd Farm's 2010 new release cheese known as Queso del Invierno meaning Winter Cheese and designed to delight the palate in the wintertime when there is no more Vermont Shepherd and no sheep's milk to craft more. Queso del Invierno is a 50/50 mixture of sheep and cow's milk which allows it to be produced year round. It is a natural rind raw milk cheese but it has some of those funky barnyardy notes of a classically washed rind cheese. It's aged to perfection for about four or five months. Somewhat salty with a nice buttery richness and a nice dosage of mushroomy and herbaceous notes -- Queso del Invierno is versatile and delish, good for the amateur and developed cheese lovers alike.

I think this a great example of cheesemakers adapting to make a product year round. Just as vegetables and fruits have seasons so does the milk utilized to make cheese. It's worth tasting, and I guaranteed it will definitely be a crowd pleaser! Serve with a nice beer or even a cider or a warming glass of red wine.

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