1. New York & England
2. California & Spain
3. Vermont & France
4. Massachusetts & Portugal
5. Wisconsin & Italy
6. Connecticut & Switzerland
and where to next?
How about Virginia and Ireland? Let's continue checking off states and countries and get right to it!
This week we will feature washed rind cheeses from both locales!
Ever heard of a farm started because of a dog? Well Everona Dairy in Rapidan, Virginia was. How you might ask? In the 1990s, the future owner and cheesemaker of Everona Dairy got a border collie and then in time decided that the dog needed some company. So what did she get? Sheep. As she started doing her due diligence, she quickly discovered that sheep's milk could produce some of the best cheese...and the rest is history. Now, Everona has over one hundred sheep and has been producing cheese for thirteen years. Today, let's focus on their cheese known as Pride of Bacchus, a red wine washed and soaked unpasteurized aged sheep's milk cheese. After the cheese's brining, it receives a wine bath and then a washing with a local red wine, Rivanna Red, from Burnley Vineyards in Gordonsville, Virginia. The interior paste is round, rustic, farmsteady, barnyardy, nutty, and butterscotchy with that fantastic granular quality of an aged cheese but the exterior is all fruity sweetness. A satisfying blend of distinct flavors packaged in the form of Pride of Bacchus.
Image courtesy of http://www.cowgirlcreamery.com/
And what of its Irish counterpart?
Instead of being washed and bathed in local red wine, our Irish counterpart is washed and bathed in local salt water -- Ardrahan hails from West Cork, a region known for its washed rind cheeses because of its temperate, damp and moist climate. Produced with pasteurized cow's milk and vegetarian rennet with between two and four months of aging, this washed rind cheese shows you what the Irish can do! Classic orange-y washed rind exterior hues and the pungence on the nose one expects with a good washed rind cheese with an interior semi-soft ivory paste full of little holes, not Swiss cheese sized, smaller. The cheese itself is smooth and creamy with a smoky, earthy, mushroomy, meaty-ness to it.
Image courtesy of www.cowgirlcreamery.com
Washed rind cheeses are the best example of the expression, "Don't judge a book by its cover," aren't they?