Yes, I realize that Connecticut is not New York, but hell, it’s close enough. Do you want to read about a great cheese or not? I thought you did.
Last year when I posted about Brigid’s Abbey from Cato Corner Farm and mentioned it was the first cheese I had tasted from Connecticut, Colleen couldn’t believe I hadn’t tasted the farm’s signature Hooligan before. Guilty as charged – Connecticut cheeses don’t make it Minnesota that often. So when I was at the Cheese Shop at France 44 recently and saw a hunky wheel of Hooligan, I made sure to buy a wedge.
Squat, sturdy and stinky, Hooligan lets everyone within nose’s distance know that it doesn’t mess around. It’s a dense, fudgy cheese made from raw cow’s milk and bathed twice weekly with bacteria-inducing brine, which leads to the development of its sticky orange rind and pungent fragrance. If you’re holding a cheese stink-off, Hooligan definitely could hold its own with the likes of Red Hawk but would trample Les Frères to the ground. The paste offers a meaty, slightly nutty, succulent bite that retains its shape even after several hours on the counter. Don’t wait for this one to ooze – like its smell, it’s too strong to falter. The rind can be a little gritty – eat it if that’s your style, but I found myself trimming it away. Why mar such a creamy interior with crunchy bits? Pair with a Belgian ale or a sweeter white wine like gewurztraminer to cut through the funk and cleanse the palate.