I suspect that the dawning of the New Year brings a lot of feelings bubbling to the surface for many.
We look back on the year before and see some triumphs and some defeats. We see parts where we really grabbed life by the horns and situations where life gored us. The future seems pregnant with possibility as the hope and excitement for what is to come fills our veins. But if we are honest there is a little bit of fear of the unknown future mixed in.
What does this have to do with cheese? Well not much unless you are in the cheese business and all of your looking back and looking forward has cheese in the forefront or at least lurking around the corner.
Bear with me as three cheeses serve as token of what has been in 2015 and what may be in 2016. For many, as you look back on 2015 you see a real stinker of a year. We’ve dealt with the lose of loved ones, relationships, pets and jobs.
Let me offer a stinky washed-rind cheese as remembrance for the not so good, dare I say horrible, history of 2015, because the smell still lingers. But this cheese comes with an upside as well.
Oma from Von Trapp Farmstead cheese is a stinker of a cheese made in Vermont and ripened to perfection there by the Cellars at Jasper Hill. While it is pungent, the flavor is buttery, earthy and meaty. If that is not a big enough upside just remember that “Oma” is German for Grandma and everyone knows that a hug from grandma can fix anything.
As a token of what the future holds let me offer hope with Roaring Forties Blue from Kings Island Dairy. This Australian blue has made its way back to the shop after a hiatus of a few months. This thin slice of Stilton-like blue cheese is coated in black wax and matured giving it sweet, earthy, piquant and nutty flavors. It really hits the spot for blue cheese lovers. So just remember that good things do happen and 2016 will be full of homecomings, new life, and opportunity.
I know that Roaring Forties refers to the 40 degree latitude that brings very strong winds to the island were it is made. But you made it through 2015, the inevitable winds of 2016 are just extra oxygen for you. You got this!
Finally let me offer up a Comte aged for two years as a token, a really tasty token. Comte is a classic French mountain cheese from the Jura region. In the production of Comte we can see a perfect economy of cooperation.
The farmers milk the cows and bring the milk to the cheesemaker, who makes the cheese and delivers the young cheeses to the affineur, who ages the cheeses to perfection. So may your 2016 work like a Comte cooperative.
In the case of this Comte it is aged at Fort Saint Antoine. This old 19th-century army barracks is carved into the side of a mountain at 3,600 feet. This perfect aging environment makes this cheese crystalline in texture with a nutty and sweet flavor.
If you need cheese for your New Years celebration get and eat these in remembrance of where you came from and where you are headed. Cheese always makes me appreciate that.
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.