Thursday, September 19, 2013

Chimney Rock - The Fall Seasonal Cheese from Cowgirl Creamery!

Every season Cowgirl Creamery comes out with a new seasonal cheese. For the Fall season, they have the Chimney Rock, which has just recently been released... When I worked behind the cheese counter at the Whole Foods in San Jose, this was one of my team's favorite cheeses.

Cheese: Chimney Rock
Producer: Cowgirl Creamery
Location: Petaluma, CA
Milk: Organic, pasteurized cow's milk
Rennet: Microbial (vegetarian)

Now, most of us are very familiar with the Mt Tam from Cowgirl Creamery. Their seasonal cheeses are similar, but with a few important differences. First, the milk used to make Mt Tam comes from the Strauss Family Creamery. The milk used to make all of their seasonal cheeses is organic milk from the Jersey cows of Chileno Valley Jersey Dairy. As many of you know, the Jersey cow is known for having a higher amount of butterfat in their milk, so the paste will be a little more yellow than the paste of the Mt Tam. If you look at the picture below, you can see the two cheeses aging side by side and how their colors differ. The Chimney Rock is on the left, with the Mt Tam to the right.

The other thing that sets the seasonal cheeses apart from the Mt Tam is the fact that they are washed in a sweet white wine and covered in different herbs, spices or in this case mushrooms, depending on the season. The Chimney Rock is covered with dried organic Pioppini and Shiitake mushrooms from Far West Fungi, organic savory from Allstar Organics and black pepper.

Needless to say, this cheese, while super buttery, has a wonderful umami-ness from the mushrooms and savory. In order to fully appreciate the complexity of the flavors in this cheese, you must eat the rind! This is where all of the mushrooms are and where you really get to experience the full flavor. I feel like this cheese is almost meaty because of the richness of the flavor. I would definitely pair this with a nice Cabernet Sauvignon because the cheese has enough flavor to hold it's own and I think the mushrooms and tannins from the wine would play together nicely. :)

Don't miss out on this cheese! It's a perfect addition to any cheese plate whether it be for an upcoming holiday party or the next NFL game... it is available now, so swing on by your local Whole Foods Market and ask for a taste!

As promised, here are a couple more pictures from when I was making cheese at Cowgirl Creamery...

Here I am cutting the curd...

 Ok, the curd comes out of those hoses REALLY fast, that's why I looked so afraid! Haha

Helping put the curd into the forms

Cleaning the cheese vats...

Gotta wash the inside AND the outside

Me wrapping cheese!
As I've said before, I had a blast at Cowgirl Creamery and I'm so thankful to everyone who made it a reality.
And on that note, until next time, eat, drink and be happy!!