12 days of cheesemas, bonnieview farm, cheese, cheese advent calendar, cheesemas, Herve Mons, Pyrenees Brebis, sheep's milk cheese, vermont shepherd

12 Days of Cheesemas–Day 4

(photo from a random Tumblr)

Pecorinos and Manchegos seem to dominate when we talk about sheep’s milk cheese, but little is ever said about Brebis. Yet, you can’t have a conversation about sheep’s cheese–or ANY cheese–without bringing the French into it. For their contribution, many know of the widely produced Petit Basque. However for those who want a little more age and nuance to their cheese, you can look to Pyrenees Brebis.

As is characteristic of all sheep’s cheese, the Brebis is rich in butterfat, with an ever so slight back note of caramel and almonds.  I always find cheeses like the Brebis (locally, look for those from Bonnieview Farm and Major Farm in Vermont), carry what the sheep were eating that season a little more upfront. So, don’t be surprised if you catch glimpses of clover and mustard amongst the sweet profile of the milk.

12 days of cheesemas, cheese advent calendar, cheesemas, goat cheese, maine cheese, Sea Smoke, Sunset Acres

12 Days of Cheesemas–Day 3

(photo from Cook’s Cache)

We’re keeping it very local for this one with Sunset Acres ash veined, bloomy rind: Sea Smoke from Sunset Acres in Brooksville, ME. Ash and cheese together is a centuries old tradition. But it wasn’t until Humboldt Fog came out, some 20 years ago, that it became popular state side.

But, the Sea Smoke is markedly different from Humboldt Fog. For one thing, the paste stays firm enough to slice and never gets loose or threaten to pull away from the rind. It’s also less salty and more crisp than ‘the Fog,’ finishing on a bright mineral note. 

12 days of cheesemas, blue cheese, cheese advent calendar, cheesemas, italian cheeses

12 Days of Cheesemas–Day 2

(photo from Murray’s Cheese)

I’m going to confess to you that I don’t usually enjoy Gorgonzolas. Truth is, every time I eat some, the pungency of the mold seems to attack my sinuses. So, I have a hard time recommending them after such violence. But, then there’s Gorgonzola Cremificato.

Much denser than the Mountain or Dolce variety, this is more like someone took a pint of the finest Italian gelato and stirred in a bit of blue cheese. It’s more sweet and pepper than tanginess and bite. Pears, honey, caramelized walnuts. Pair what you’d like and cook with the whatever you happen to have leftover.