As Jill said in her report from Fromagination, we like to scour the cheese counters everywhere we go for new discoveries. Sometimes, though, those discoveries happen in spite of ourselves. Take this week’s cheese, Eclipse. I had stopped in to the cheese shop in hopes of picking up a different cheese, but had just been beaten to the last one in the case. After pouting for a moment, I spotted this itty bitty cheese and said, “I’ll take that one.” (I had my four-year-old with me, and no time to waste deliberating.)
And a pleasant discovery it was. Eclipse is from the tiny R&G Cheesemakers in upstate New York. The company is a two-man operation — housed in the back of a gourmet market — started by Sean O’Connor and named for his sons, Ryan and Gavin. O’Connor took culinary classes at UCLA but learned the dairy business at Old Chatham Sheepherding Company after moving to New York. Look them up at the Cohoes Farmers Market if you find yourself in the area — but otherwise they appear to have a very limited distribution. (Read more about R&G Cheesemakers here.)
Eclipse is a soft-ripened, goats-milk cheese with a vegetable ash coating under its bloomy rind. It had a dense, smooth paste that softened after coming to room temperature, and the slightly sweet taste of fresh cream with just a hint of goaty tang.
Eclipse is a petite cheese that is just perfect for two, making it ideal for your romantic summer picnics. (Or just to hoard for yourself if your partner doesn’t appreciate the magic of goat cheese.) Pair it with a dry rose, sauvignon blanc or other citrusy white wine.