Cheese is Blooming {Curdwise, Session Three}

by mncheese on February 21, 2012

in American-NewEngland,American-Northeast,American-South,American-West,Bubbly,Cheese!,Cow,Goat,Milk,Virtual Cheese School

After Valentine’s Day, we’ve had enough of winter. Bring on spring and its blooms, including bloomy-rind cheeses. Our third installment of virtual cheese school focuses on my favorite style of cheese, which offers up its creamy, silky glory for all to enjoy.

@curdwiseAlso known as soft-ripened cheeses, bloomy rinds are exposed to molds and bacteria during the aging process, like their blue cousins. But while blue cheeses are injected with mold cultures, giving them a blue-veined interior, bloomy-rind cheeses only come into contact with the mold on their surfaces, which allows them to ripen from the exterior inward. The surface then “blooms” with a thin, white rind that is entirely edible and absolutely delicious. Please eat it – it pains me to see people scoop out the interior paste of bloomy rinds without tasting the delightful crust.

When they’ve come to room temperature, many bloomy-rind cheeses unleash a soft, liquid paste when cut. So rich and creamy, these cheeses can be a satisfying dessert course – no chocolate necessary. Other bloomy rinds don’t ripen evenly, especially those that are thick, dense wheels. In that case, you may cut into a wheel that is oozing just underneath the rind, but the paste near the center is still firm. According to Steven Jenkins, this chalky center is known in France as the l’ame, or “soul,” of the cheese. Both kinds are tasty, but you’ll probably prefer one over the other.

Bloomy-rind cheeses are natural matches for champagne and other sparkling wines, so it’s no wonder many of our C+C favorites fall into this category. Look for these American-made bloomies at your local cheese shop:

Haystack Peak

Kunik, New York
Green Hill, Georgia
Haystack Peak, Colorado
Truffle Tremor, California
Mt. Tam, California
Cremont, Vermont

Cremont

And if you’re craving some Old World cheeses, check out our imported favorites:

Chaource, France
Brunet, Italy

Brillat-Savarin, France

Brunet

What are your favorite bloomy-rind cheeses? Share below or post to our Facebook page.

{ 2 comments }

Marjorie Hardy February 22, 2012 at 10:03 am

My favorite “bloomy-rind” cheese is Lille from Vermont Farmstead Cheese Co. in South Woodstock, Vermont! This Coulommier soft ripened cheese has a delectable creamy flavor with a velvety texture. I love this cheese placed on a sandwich with chicken and apple slices, paired with berries and also love to enjoy it’s wonderful flavors all by itself!

Alyssa February 26, 2012 at 11:27 am

I love these cheese school posts! :) This is so time appropriate for me. I was part of a cheese making class we had a few weeks ago with other Slow Food leaders and one of the cheeses we made was Camembert. I just cut in to it today. I love your descriptions above about the possible texture outcomes as one describes my cheese to the letter. I do love Camembert but my other favorite bloomy rind would have to be the famous Rush Creek Reserve. :)

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