I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. Things have settled down at the cheese counter this week and I finally have a moment to write about some of the fun cheeses we have! Today, I'm going to talk about a cheese of which Ryan, my Cheese Specialist, is quite fond - Kunik from Nettle Meadow Farm.
Producers: Sheila Flanagan and Lorraine Lambiase of Nettle Meadow Farm
Region: Southern Adirondack Park in Thurman, New York
Milk: Pasteurized goat and cow's milk (75% goat's milk, 25% jersey cow's cream)
Rennet: Traditional (animal)
I'd personally never had the Kunik until a couple of days ago when one of my team members opened it up for a customer to try. When it was cut open, it was almost at peak ripeness. The paste was luscious and gooey and I couldn't wait to get my hands on a sample.
As the cheese hit my tongue, it was obvious that it was a triple creme right off the bat. The thick, buttery-ness of the paste was unmistakable. The next flavor that hit my palate was the slight tang of the goat's milk followed by the cloying texture of jersey cow's cream. I was also very impressed by the complex notes of grass and grain that were present in the cheese. As it says right on the label, "This cheese is a sumptuous concentration of the organic grains and wild herbs our goats and sheep eat every day, including wild raspberry leaf, nettle, kelp, comfrey, garlic, barley, goldenrod". A lot of cheese makers I know try to avoid having their livestock eat these very flavorful herbs as the flavors get passed on in the milk causing "off" flavors. To me it was such a breath of fresh air really being able to taste the terroir and experience some of the environment in which the goats live.
The typical beverage pairing with many triple cremes is a bright, sparkling wine of sorts. In this case, a sparkling wine would absolutely work with this cheese, but what I was really craving was a nice chocolate or hazelnut porter. The complexity of the Kunik would pair beautifully with the bigger flavors of a porter.
Next time you're in the Los Altos area, be sure to stop by the Whole Foods cheese counter there and say hello! I'd love to have you taste a sample of this magnificent cheese.
Until next time (you won't have to wait so long this time), eat, drink and be happy!!