Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Ovalie Cendrée

Hello everyone!

Well I'm getting really excited because next week I will be in Madison, WI at the 30th annual American Cheese Society Conference! I'm one of the two Official Conference Cheesemongers this year (a HUGE honor) and will be taking plenty of pictures to share with you all. Over 1700 cheeses were entered this year, so I'm going to be exposed to some pretty awesome North American cheeses More to come next week!

As for the cheese I chose to write about today, this cheese is actually on national promotion (that means most Whole Foods Markets in the country should have this cheese) right now for about one more week. The cheese is the Ovalie Cendrée from one of my favorite affineurs  who works closely with Whole Foods Market - Hervé Mons.

I forgot to take a picture of the cheese in the whole form before I started eating it, so the whole wheels are in the photo below :)
Picture courtesy of Hervé Mons

Cheese: Ovalie Cendrée
Affineur: Hervé Mons
Location: Produced at a small artisanal goat dairy in the Poitou-Charentes
Milk: Pasteurized goat's milk
Rennet: Traditional (animal)

The name comes from the fact that it is oval shaped and the word Cendrée literally means "ashy". You can see in the pictures above that the rind is pretty grey and that is because the cheese is coated in vegetable ash. The ash mellows out the goat flavors, reduces the acidity and really helps make this cheese super creamy, earthy and balanced.

When I originally unwrapped this cheese, it had a bit of a musty odor to it, but leaving it out for 10-20 minutes quickly took care of that. That time also allowed for the paste to soften and by the time I cut into the cheese, the paste came oozing out. It was glorious. I typically expect a cheese like this one to be pretty gamey and goaty, but the Ovalie Cendrée was the complete opposite. When I had my roommate try it, she was completely surprised that it was a goat cheese because it was so creamy.

Needless to say, with the flavor profile and spreadability of this cheese, we made quick work of the near 8oz round. Laure, our representative from Hervé Mons recommends having this cheese with any chilled white wine from the Loire Valley or any one of the many Rosés currently available in the stores. Another yummy option would be to cut up some peaches, apricots or other stone fruit that are in season right now and serve then along side the Ovalie Cendrée with a drizzle of honey. Yum!!

As I mentioned before, this cheese isn't on sale for very much longer, so swing by your local Whole Foods Market and pick up a round for yourself! I'll try to get another post in before I head to Madison, but no promises :). Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!