Skagit Food Co-op blog:

the Cheese Whisperer

Cheese Whisperer: A Trio of Wintertime Delights

It’s a special time of year for the Co-op’s Cheese Department. In addition to our regular, wide selection of local and imported cheese, we bring in some extra treats. Available now for a limited time only, look for these outstanding cheeses. Don’t feel like you have to choose one over the other: they’d all be delightful on a cheese platter together!

Photo: bkvineyardmarket.com

Florette Goat Brie

~ pasteurized goat milk ~ aged at least 2 months ~ made in Péllusin, France ~ $11.99 per pound ~

Mild and delicate, this luscious brie is soft and spreadable. Made by quality cheese makers at Fromagerie Guilloteau, Florette is a soft-ripened with an edible bloomy, white rind. Thanks to a special additional step called “ultrafiltration”, the interior is extra-spreadable, with a consistent rich paste. Its flavor is creamy, slightly sweet and herbal, with a hint of “goatiness.” Perfect for goat cheese lovers, a good start for goat cheese newcomers.

Serve it: slathered on fresh bread or baguette, warmed over pasta, rice or potatoes, enjoyed alongside nuts and fresh or dried fruit.

Pair it: La Bella Prosecco sparkling wine, or bright ales like Georgetown Roger’s Pilsner or Kulshan German-style sour Gose ale.

Photo: savoryfood.net

Oscar Wilde Irish Cheddar

~ pasteurized cow’s milk ~ aged at least 18 months ~ made in County Cork, Ireland ~ $7.99 per pound ~

Welcome the return of a poetic cheese temptation at our Specialty Cheese Island: Oscar Wilde Irish Cheddar. Oscar Wilde was a witty writer who dazzled the British Isles with his poems and prose in the later half of the 1800’s. During his lifetime, he was also believed to be an expert on food and wine. In addition to a host of memorable quotes, he famously said: “I can’t stand people who do not take food seriously.”

Celebrate Wilde’s life and work with this creamy aged cheddar made in the Irish dairy heartland of County Cork. This natural white cheddar has a distinct, mineral-rich flavor, from farm-fresh cow’s milk from multi-generation family farms. In Ireland, many herds of dairy cattle are pasture-fed for most (at least 300 days) of the year, especially during the milking season.

Serve it: try it crumbled over apple pie or fruit cobbler, add this shredded cheddar to egg dishes or pimento cheese spread.

Pair it: Oscar Wilde Cheddar makes an excellent companion to dark beer or deep, earthy red wine. Refresh your palate and pair this delightful tangy cheddar with the rich, roasted flavors of Yorkshire classic Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout or local Boundary Bay’s Cabin Fever Winter Ale .

Photo: Pinterest

Wensleydale with Cranberries

~ $14.99 per pound ~ aged at least 3 months ~ pasteurized cow milk ~ made in Yorkshire, England ~

Wensleydale is an uncommon cheese in America. A popular regional cheese in Britain, it has a slightly tangy, milky flavor and a moist crumbly texture. Encased in a red wax rind, Wensleydale’s mild sweet and salty cheese flavors offers a creamy and subtly salty contrast to the rich flavors of fruit and buttery pastry. There is a common Yorkshire folk saying that “apple pie without Wensleydale is like a kiss without the squeeze.”

Photo: Wensleydale Salad, wensleydale.co.uk

This creamy, crumbly delight remains a favorite of cheese fans, including the fictional animated character Wallace, of Wallace & Gromit, and renown author George Orwell. Orwell listed Wensleydale as the 2nd best British cheese (1st: Blue Stilton) in his essay “In Defence (sic) of English Cooking.”

Serve It: atop green salads, melted shredded Wensleydale in squash soup or over braised poultry dishes. Or present as a dessert cheese, along with shortbread, candied nuts and fresh fruit. Try it for breakfast with this traditional recipe for Yorkshire Wensleydale & Cranberries and Apple Pancake.

Pair it: slightly sweet, crisp white wines like Riesling and Gewürztraminer. Or try a bubbly, Pacific Northwest apple cider from Tieton Cider Company or 2Towns Ciderhouse.

By: Claire

ClaireClaire Harlock Garber loves to eat and drink and write about it. She has worked in the food industry for nearly a decade and was on staff at the Skagit Valley Co-op from 2010-2018, writing the regular columns Skagit Brew Corner, The Cheese Whisperer, The Bounty of Bulk, and What's Dippin' in the Well for the Co-op's blog, as well as articles for the Natural Enquirer newsletter.