Chow Town

Don’t be deterred by Red Hawk’s pungent aroma

Red Hawk features a rust-colored rind.
Red Hawk features a rust-colored rind.

October is American Cheese Month. The American Cheese Society says, “American Cheese Month is a celebration of North America’s delicious and diverse cheeses, and the farmers, cheesemakers, retailers, cheesemongers and chefs who bring them to your table.”

So I thought I would bring a different cheese to Chow Town readers every day in October. Stay tuned to see what delicious cheeses North America has to offer! There are sure to be some classic favorites and new must-haves that will suit everyone’s tastes.

Red Hawk

Producer: Cowgirl Creamery

Place: Point Reyes Station, Calif.

Milk: Cow

Type: Soft, washed-rind

Red Hawk is a triple cream cheese that is washed, creating a stinky, rust-colored rind. Red Hawk is distinctive for several reasons.

Few washed-rind cheeses are triple cream cheeses; most are soft-ripened, like Red Hawk’s sister, Mt. Tam. Red Hawk is also distinctive because of the wild bacteria that grow on the rind as the cheese is washed with a brine.

As in many washed-rinds, the pungent smell becomes the star of the show, but the flavor turns out to be milder than the odor. Don’t let the barnyard and dirty socks smell deter you from trying this small ball of flavor. Flavors of butter, salami and mushroom round out the milky under tones.

If a baguette is close by, grab it. Red Hawk will thank you and so will your taste buds.

Lincoln Broadbooks loves cheese. He is one of the first cheesemongers in the United States and Canada to become an American Cheese Society certified cheese professional. He is the manager and buyer for The Better Cheddar in Prairie Village. You can find him on Twitter @LincolnBbooks and on Instagram @lincycheese.