Le Tastevin Wine Club - Notes on Cheeses – October 11, 2023

Tonight's cheese is from Whole Foods as well as that provided from Ken Cook's source at Washington State University. The French "epi" loaves are from The Give Thanks Bakery in Rochester (and, once again, thank you Ron!).

Baetje Farms Beer-Washed Vallee (pasteurized goat's milk) is a cheese made with 100% goat milk washed in a whiskey barrel stout made by Boulevard Brewery in Kansas City, Missouri. Steve and Veronica Baetje have been making cheese at Baetje Farms in the Ozark foothills since 2006. The milk is from a large herd of Saanen dairy goats, and the owners produce their cheeses along with several employees. This semi-soft paste has notes of sweet cream, bacon and toasted onion that become prominent as it approaches room temperature and softer in texture. The company's website also states there are aromas of hops (East Kent Goldings?), alhtough I do not find it notable; stouts, with their larger uses of specialty malts, largely use bittering hops in lower levels merely to balance the sweetness of the grain bill.

El Trigal (pasteurized sheep milk) is a 6-month aged Manchego cheese from La Mancha. Only sheep’s milk from La Mancha may be used. The distinctive pattern on the waxed rind - originally the result of encircling the curd with a plaited (braided) band of esparto grass - must be visible. The color of the wax denotes the age of the cheese. The better Manchego cheese have flavors that are fruity, nutty, sweet, and tangy, with a semi-soft, supple texture.

Cougar Gold (pasteurized cow's mik) is a canned cheese. No joke, and no canned laughter. It's surprisingly excellent. Produced by the dairy department of Washington State University (then Washington State College) in Pullman, Washinton, the need to safely store and transport cheese in cans with a looming World War in the late 1930s spurred the US government to fund this research with Dr. Norman S. Golding at Washington and the American Can Company. By 1948, research solved the problem of CO2 buildup when bacteria convert lactose into lactic acid by using a different bacteria. The cheese was named "Cougar Gold" after the school's mascot. The cheese is hand-made and pressed and sealed into 30-ounce cans, then aged for one year. This bacteria also creates a creamy, crumbling smooth sharp taste, which is a nice counterpoint to tonight's wines and the other cheeses.

Page last updated: May 10, 2024 (EB)

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