The Tale of “The Cheese”

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

How do I start this post? This is a top secret post, about a cheese that I would consider a “Snuffleupagus” (for the Sesame Street watchers, you know what I mean!). It is a cheese known to few, eaten by many, and produced by no one. Whatever am I talking about? I am talking about a cheese that I recently tried on a trip to “nowhere” given to me by “someone” very special, that was made by a farmer and the milk from his cows. This cheese, that I shall call “cake”, is a cheese that is produced by some of the local farmers from the area that I went to. Now, the reason I am being so darn secretive about this is because this cheese is unpasteurized and therefore illegal in many parts.

The “cake” cheese that was brought over for Doug & I to sample was something that I didn’t even know existed in those parts. A very nice man heard that I was around and thought that I, being a cheese maniac, would appreciate some of his local “cake”. Well, here he came bearing several samples of aged “cake”; which included a two week old, a one month old, a three month and my favorite, the six month old. The youngest of the “cake” had a Pecorino-type flavor to it. It was dry, and had a crumbly texture, but also had a distinct salty and earthy quality. As the “cake” ages, it becomes drier and the saltiness gives way to a nutty, almost smokey flavor. When we ate our second piece, we realized that you could also taste the grass that the cows had eaten.  The six month, as I was told, was only appreciated by a few,  and I am happy to say that Doug and I fit that category! The mystery man left us with a very generous piece of the “cake” and explained to us the aging process of letting it air dry for a few weeks, then putting it in a zip-loc to be  left in the fridge for an undetermined amount of time. I know that making unpasteurized cheese is supposed to be “evil” due to certain dangerous bacterias, but it was nice to see that this old cheese making tradition still takes place in rural “nowhere”.  All I can say to sum up this “cake” is move over Parmigiano-Reggiano, there is a new cheese on the block!

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3 Responses to “The Tale of “The Cheese””

  1. Aaron Says:
    August 19th, 2009 at 10:40 am

    I’m pretty sure I know the “cake” you are talking about. At least a closely related unpasteurized variety from rural somewhere. The more aged ones do have a nutty almost smokey flavor, so much so that I am a convert after never paying much attention to this kind of cheese before.

  2. Jean Says:
    August 19th, 2009 at 11:03 am

    Great post Renee. Looking forward to hearing about the nonexistent “cake”.

  3. lifeofmytime Says:
    August 20th, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    Heard you on the radio today and it confirmed what I thought. Not only were you in the region I suspected, you were actually in my hometown. Love, love, love that cheese. The older, the better.

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