Next stop on the Whistle Stop Tour: Utah! Yes, even the Beehive State is turning out hand-crafted cheeses worth seeking out, though Beehive Cheese Co. has already proved that point emphatically with their Barely Buzzed, TeaHive and other flavored cheeses. The newest addition to the Beehive family is Ipanema, an Irish-style, mild cows-milk cheese rubbed with butter and a fine layer of ground cocoa. The cocoa is from Crio Bru, a brewed cocoa for drinking (the beans are roasted, ground and brewed like coffee). The cheese tastes young and fruity, and unlike Barely Buzzed’s unmaskable coffee notes, the chocolate flavor doesn’t really penetrate the paste of Ipanema. Still, this will be a fun cheese for holiday cheese boards — dressed up with dried fruit and more chocolate.
The obvious pairing (after Crio Bru) would be Rogue Ale’s Chocolate Stout, but you could serve it with a west coast pinot or syrah. I actually enjoyed it with my morning coffee — if you want to get really curd-and-bean geeky, make sure your coffee is Dominican like the cocoa.
Ipanema is currently available exclusively at Whole Foods. Thanks to Whole Foods’ PR department for bringing it to our attention — and reminding us that their stores carry many cheeses with which to commemorate American Cheese Month. You can find Pleasant Ridge Reserve, Rogue River Blue, Humboldt Fog and many more American classics at your local Whole Foods cheese counter, as well as lesser-known local and regional selections.
Disclosure: We received complementary samples of Ipanema from Whole Foods for the purpose of this review. No other compensation was received and all opinions, as always, are our own.