A cheese course or tasting can be a fun and unique treat for dinner guests. And you can choose a theme, like all European cheeses, or cheeses from the same animal (cow, goat, or sheep). When doing a tasting, you don't want to use too many cheeses because the texture coats your tongue and the more varieties you add, the more difficult it is to discern the differences. Always start with mild cheeses and work your way sharper.
Mount tam is a nice and mild cheese that makes a great starter course. Aged for three weeks, it is a triple creme, meaning creme is added to whole milk, bringing the butterfat content up and making it nice and rich. Mount tam has an earthy and mushroom-like taste that goes well with fruit and nut flavors such as mandarin apricot chutney. When cutting into a wheel of mount tam, try to get a cross section. Pieces closer to the rind and nearer to the center taste different from one another, and you want to get a little bit of all the flavors.
Only made during the fall and winter, pierce point cheese has hints of dried grass and spicy flavors. The rind is infused with herbs, grasses, and spices, which bring out the natural tangy essences in the cheese. Aged for three weeks, pierce point needs only a small amount of an accompaniment, like spiced pear butter or a plain baguette, so as not to be overpowered.
The award-winning red hawk cheese is washed in a brine solution as it ages, making it more pungent and complex in flavor. A quite stinky cheese, red hawk goes well with sweet foods like honey, that bring out the different layers of flavor, or dessert wines, ciders, and grape juice. Red hawk is moist and soft in texture, and also goes nicely on a simple plain cracker.
The cheeses on today's show are from Cowgirl Creamery,
Martha's Secret Source for fantastic and unique cheeses.