12 days of cheesemas, bucheron, cheese advent calendar, counting down my favorite holiday cheeses, goats milk cheese, holiday cheese plate, maine cheese, york hill farm maine

12 Days of Cheesemas–Day 8

(photo from Stacy Camp Photography)

I will openly come out now and say that York Hill Farm, from New Sharon, ME, is one of my absolute favorite goat cheese makers in New England. They were recently featured in a Culture Magazine article on Maine cheese makers and were big winners this past year at The Big E. And the accolades are well deserved. The two cheeses above, their ‘Bucheron‘ and Capriano are two of my favorites. The Capriano is aged about 6 months and the paste imparts a very distinct nutty, sweetness, without the tanginess that goes along with so many goat cheeses. The Bucheron, aged much younger, embraces the tanginess and all its glory. The cream line of the cheese–the one that gets gooier and gooier as the cheese ages–never really gets a lot of body. But, it does loosen up enough to give you that wonderful dual texture and, therefore, dual flavor that makes so many people love this style of cheese.
One thing, though, that strikes me about just about every one of York Hill’s cheeses is a mineral note in the milk that cuts a bit into the acidity, which is most prominent in their plain chevre.

If you’re looking to track down York Hill’s cheeses, I’d do so soon as their milking season is coming to an end. After that, you’re waiting 4 long months until the next batch of cheese is made.

12 days of cheesemas, blue cheese, cheese advent calendar, counting down my favorite holiday cheeses, holiday cheese plate, pt. reyes original blue

12 Days of Cheesemas–Day 5

(photo from VanillaGarlic)

Pt. Reyes Original Blue is one of those perfect blues. It’s bitey, peppery, salty, crumbly and doesn’t kill your palate or, as Gorgonzola’s have a habit of doing to me, flood my sinuses with an acidic burn. It’s pleasant and the blue most likely to appear in any recipe I make that calls for a veined cheese. Maytag may be one of the best known domestically produced blue cheeses, but Pt. Reyes is one of the tastiest.

12 days of cheesemas, cheese, counting down my favorite holiday cheeses, holiday cheese plate, italian cheeses, piave

12 Days of Cheesemas–Day 4

(photo from The Cheese Library)

Piave Vecchio is the younger, much overlooked cousin to Parmesan Reggiano. Aged significantly younger (this cheese ranges from young–30-60 days old, to Vecchio Oro del Tempo–12+ months), it pleases the palate with a creamy, nutty paste, filled with those little ‘crunchy bits‘ that people can’t seem to get enough of. While your first instinct may be to grab the grater and top some pasta with it, it makes a fantastic nibbling cheese, especially for those who don’t like their aged cheese to have too much sharpness.

12 days of cheesemas, cheese advent calander, counting down my favorite holiday cheeses, delice d'argental, holiday cheese plate, triple creme brie

12 Days of Cheesemas–Day 2

(photo from Dedrick’s Cheese)

It’s my “Oh, my” cheese. Let me put this into perspective for you. Butter has at least 80% butterfat. Delice D’Argental comes in at 72% butterfat. And it’s cut with creme fraiche, propelling this to the top of my favorite triple creme bries. While many will swoon over a wedge of Delice de Bourgogne, with a butterfat content of 75%, it’s the added dimension of the creme fraiche that elevates D’Argental over its fellow countryman. I don’t recommend pairings often, but a glass of Champagne or Prosecco is MEANT for this cheese.

12 days of cheesemas, cheese advent calendar, counting down my favorite holiday cheeses, english cheeses, holiday cheese plate, keen's cheddar

12 Days of Cheesemas–Day 1

(photo from British Fine Foods)

Put down your Tillamook, rewrap your Grafton Village and behold the King of Cheddar. Farmstead, unpasteurized, bandaged and aged at least 10 months, this is my favorite English cheese and I would even push aside a wheel of some of my favorite cheddars(Cabot Clothbound from The Cellars at Jasper Hill and Old Quebec) for even the smallest of wedges.

The flavor profile is grassy and creamy. But, it’s the intensity of the raw milk, a bit of a dance and a slight horseradish profile, as the wheel gets older that makes this truly wonderful.