Monday, April 1, 2013

A Local Gem - St George

Hello everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend and made some happy family memories. I had a wonderful time with my family as always. We even had an Easter egg hunt! This was especially fun since it was me, my two sisters and my sister's boyfriend looking for the eggs and we are all in our mid-twenties! It was probably more competitive than the average Easter egg hunt, but fun nonetheless. :)

I've decided to talk about a locally made cheese today that I have heard a lot about from my customers but have only had the pleasure of trying in the last couple of days when we started carrying it at our cheese counter. This cheese is St. George.

Cheese: St. George
Producer: Joe and Mary Matos of Matos Cheese Factory
Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Milk: Heat treated cow's milk (so it is still technically considered raw in the U.S.)
Rennet: Vegetarian

In 1979 Joe and Mary Matos moved to Santa Rosa, CA from the island of Sao Jorge in the Portuguese Azores. They brought with them the recipe of their homeland's native cheese and thus created the St. George (named after the island, Sao Jorge). Mary Matos has said that in her homeland, this cheese was often used as a way to pay for things when money was not available. The traditional style of making this cheese is in a loaf form but for the St. George made here you will see in wheel form.

I find this cheese simple and unpretentious. To me it's a cross between a cheddar and a havarti. It is creamy and delicious with a slight nuttiness to it. The natural rind adds a hint of earthy complexity that can only come from a natural rind cheese. In the last few days I've had some customers asking about the Austrian Amadeus cheese and while we don't have that cheese at the moment, the St. George has very similar flavoring with a bit more character.

Use the St George as a cheese to round out any cheese plate or as a cheese to use in cooking as it melts very well and blends nicely with many different flavors.

I invite you all to come on by the cheese counter and ask for a sample! Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!