Wednesday, 5 October 2016

"Tasting of barnyard and goat..." (Adventures in Cheese)

A couple of weeks ago my hubbie went shopping alone as I was busy working. He's quite good at shopping, gets what we need but also keeps an eye open for interesting bargains in the reduced aisles... and so it was that he came home with a huge grin on his face. "I bought you some cheese" he announced, "two chunks from Booth's." My ears pricked up - firstly I adore cheese, and secondly if it came from Booth's then the chances are it's not a common "mousetrap cheese."  

So it transpired...  in the fridge were two cling-filmed packets, each about the size of the palm of my hand, containing a dark skinned aromatic cheese.  The label didn't enlighten me much... Monte Enebro it said, each pack weighed 0.086kg (that's 86g or just over 3 oz for us non-metric folks), and was reduced from £2.58 per pack to 52p per pack. Hubbie stood looking smug, "Did I do well?" he enquired.  

Well it was certainly a good saving, but what is Monte Enebro? It smelled interesting, not too overly pungent but probably a goat's cheese, I thought.  A quick search on Google brought the answer - it is an award-winning goat's cheese made in Spain by one family in Avila. Originally created by the "legendary cheese maker Rafael Baez and his daughter Paloma" at the Quesería del Tietar, it is now made by Paloma and her children (Rafael died in 2012) at the Queseria. 

Regarded by many as the best goat's cheese made anywhere in the world, Monte Enebro was certainly a new experience for me.  It was sharp with the distinctive goat cheese flavour and a hint of lemony-ness, but with a good texture and was strong enough to hold its own and not be drowned out by my favourite Piccalilli. 

A review on Culture, the cheese magazine website, described it as, 
"Flavors in the younger cheeses are mild, bright and tangy, with distinct citrus notes combined with a cellar-like aroma and flavor imparted by the blue rind. As the cheeses mature, the aromas become more pungent and the flavors evolve and strengthen, becoming quite assertive, tasting of barnyard and goat."
If I had read that before buying it might have put me off... cellar-like and barnyard are not attributes that I normally go for in a cheese!  The outer rind was a bit peculiar too - very dark and dusty - apparently it is made using a sprayed on coating of water mixed with a blue mold Penicillium Roqueforti. I assumed I shouldn't eat the rind, and to be honest the outside looked less appetising, unlike the inside which was creamy and enticing!

"Was it worth buying?" hubbie wanted to know. Yes indeed at 52p/pack!  Would I have paid £2.58 for such a small amount?  Probably not - I am such a frugal shopper that I would feel guilty doing so - and if you translate the per pack price before the reduction it would equate to £30 per kilo! Yes I know it's rare and special, and so for me it will probably remain the one and only time I get to try this amazing goat's cheese! 

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