Because of the summer heat, I was looking for a relatively light cheese to snack on. As I was shopping at our Los Altos location, I came across a wonderful selection of cheese from Andante Dairy. I am ashamed to say that until now, I hadn't tried any of the Andante Dairy cheeses. This is especially shameful because these cheeses are locally made in Petaluma. But, I rectified the situation and tried the Nocturne and couldn't stop going back for more...
Producer: Soyoung Scanlan of Andante Dairy
Region: Petaluma, CA
Milk: Pasteurized cow's milk
The cool thing about Soyoung, the cheesemaker at Andante Dairy, is that she is incredibly inspired by music and art. In the instance of the Nocturne, she says the color reminds her of Whistler's painting "Nocturnes". She also says that the slow cheesemaking process and the delicate flavors remind her of the gentle movement of Chopin's "Nocturnes". She has other cheeses with names like Legato, Picolo, Metronome, etc. So if you're into music and cheese, these cheeses are right up your alley.
The cheese itself is an ash ripened, bloomy rind cheese. It is relatively firm when young (like the piece pictured above) and gets a lot softer and more flavorful as it ages.
In the picture above, you can see that the paste is still relatively firm with just a slight ripening around the edges of the rind. I probably should have let this age for a little while longer, but I was so eager to try it! The aroma of the Nocturne is slightly mushroomy with a little bit of mustiness. As for the flavor, even at a young age, this baby is heavenly! Slightly tart but not over the top, creamy but not cloying with a little bit of funky earthiness thrown in with the rind. Quite a treat.
I served this cheese with some Cranberry Hazelnut Raincoast Crisps and it was quite tasty. Next time I will probably serve ample amounts of fresh fruit as well.
So if you find yourself in a Whole Foods Market and you see any Andante Dairy cheeses, be sure to pick up a piece! Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!