I was going to post about Ameribella last month, but how could we not feature such a patriotically named cheese on Independence Day week? Especially a cheese as powerful and pungent as this – if the American troops couldn’t banish the British on their own, surely this cheese could have done the job.
Despite hailing from a Midwestern state (Indiana), Ameribella just started appearing in Twin Cities cheese counters this spring, where it stands its ground with the Red Hawks and Graysons of the case. In fact, like Grayson, Ameribella is fashioned after the great Italian stinker Taleggio, with an orange-tinged washed rind that brings the barnyard to your cheese plate. Matthew Brichford and Leslie Jacobs are long-time farmers but relatively new cheesemakers, but they impressively dove into the washed-rind world with a mission – and impressive results.
This semi-soft slipper of a cheese doesn’t get too runny, but its pliable paste can make your fingers get pretty sticky nonetheless. Though a Taleggio is often described as having more bark (or odor) than bite, I found Ameribella to be more more assertive on the palate, with strong mustardy, yeasty flavors coming through with each bite. I relished the strong flavors but refrained from bringing my slice to work, lest my co-workers think something died in my office. Desk cheese Ameribella may not be, but I have no qualms about enjoying it at home or with fellow cheese fiends as company. Pair with a light white or medium-bodied red, like you would a Grayson, and savor the Ameribella aroma this holiday.