I find it a very fun coincidence that I am now writing about the original, which is an outstanding cheese deserving of emulation. And here we go!
Cheese: São Jorge
Region: São Jorge Island, Azores, Portugal
Milk: Raw cow's milk
Rennet: Traditional (animal)
As its name implies, the cheese is made on the island of São Jorge in Portugal. The climate and soil on this island are ideal for dairying (the island has over 20,000 cows!), so the long tradition of cheesemaking makes total sense. The cows are milked twice a day and a right after each milking, cheesemaking commences. The evening milk is delivered around 8:30pm and the cheesemaking starts then and lasts until about 4am. That's dedication!
This cheese really embodies the characteristics of raw milk. You get the tangy, piquant acidity which is classic in raw milk cheeses, but you also get a wonderful creamy finish. If you're a fan of the "sharp" in sharp cheddar, you will adore this cheese. I find the paste to be quite fun as well. There are tiny eyes sprinkled all throughout leaving a cheese that reminds me of the surface of the moon!
Try this cheese with a nice crisp pilsner, or even a funky sour. But beware when trying this with a sour - depending on which one you choose, you may have a wonderful pairing or a "ouch" pairing with similar competing flavors. These are the types of experimental pairings that I like to try out on my own as I find some very unexpected gems in the mix.
We have this cheese on sale at my cheese counter and all other Northern California/Reno Whole Foods Market stores for just a few more days. Be sure to stop by your local store and try some out! Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!