For the 6th installment of Cheese 101, I not only purchased samples from Heinen’s as I have done previously but also from Whole Foods, allowing for a good variety of cheeses.

Cheese 101: Honey Bee Goat Gouda

Goat Gouda

  • Milk: Pasteurized Goat (and Honey)
  • Country of OriginHolland
  • FamilyGouda
  • Texture: SmoothCreamyFirm
  • Aged: 6 months
  • Vegetarian: Yes
  • Beverage Pairing: Merlot
  • Grade (Out of 5)Cheese Grade: 5/5

Background

Unfortunately, the Internet was lacking in additional information regarding Honey Bee’s Goat Gouda.

Made with a drizzle of honey added to pure goat milk for a cashew-like nutty sweetness. Slightly sweet, full of flavor, yet not strong or salty. Easy to slice, grate or cube, wonderful in salads or as a snack with fruit. (Courtesy Cheeseland, Inc.)

Aroma/Flavor

The fact that this particular Goat Gouda is flavored with honey is evident with its sweet, honey aroma. The smooth and creamy texture leads to a subtle honey and goat flavor that is complex and delicious. Some have compared the sweet and somewhat nutty flavor to honey roasted cashews. Considering I love cashews, it is no surprise that I enjoyed Honey Bee Goat Gouda as much as I did.

Cheese 101: Honey Bee Goat Gouda

Final Thoughts

I don’t typically think of myself as a honey lover, but with this particular Gouda, the hint of honey really took the cheese to the next level providing a unique and appealing flavor. It would be great for both snacking and/or melting.

Additional Resources

Cheese 101: Cave Aged Gruyere

Cave Aged Gruyere

  • Milk: Raw Cow
  • Producer: Emmi
  • Country of OriginSwitzerland
  • RegionLucerne
  • FamilyGouda
  • TypeSemi-Firm, Hard
  • Texture: Crumbly
  • Rind: Washed
  • Aged: 1 year (3 months in the cheese dairy; at least 9 months in the cave)
  • Beverage Pairing: Cabernet, Syrah, Full Bodied Beer, Herbal Spirits (Scotch & Gin), Black Tea
  • Grade (Out of 5)Cheese Grade: 4/5

Background

About a thousand years ago, the Holy Roman Empire extended its wily grip around all of what we now know as France, Switzerland, and some of Germany, and the forests of this area were called “gruyeres.” Charlemagne’s men sold wood to the cheesemakers of the area to power their curd cooking kettles, and the cheesemakers paid for the wood with their cheeses. These are the cheeses that we now know, eat and love as Comte and Gruyere. (Courtesy Cowgirl Creamery)

A wheel of Gruyere weighs about 60 pounds and requires about 106 gallons of milk. Although there are some farmstead versions, most Gruyere is made in village dairies with milk pooled from several farms. The dairies combine raw milk from evening and morning milkings, then begin the cheesemaking. After the curd forms, it is cut very small — about the size of a grain of wheat. The cut curds and whey are gently heated for about 45 minutes, then the curds are transferred to giant stainless-steel molds, stacked on top of each other and pressed for at least 16 hours. All these steps contribute to Gruyere’s dense, firm texture…Continue Reading @ SF Gate

Aged in caves where the air and natural bacteria endow the cheese with a deep complexity, this cheese matures for at least a year…Famously used in fondue recipes, this cheese melts fabulously and is amazing in grilled cheese sandwiches, gratins, sauces or just for snacking. (Courtesy Cowgirl Creamery)

Aroma/Flavor

Every time I sample a cheese, my go to descriptor appears to be “nutty”, whether describing the aroma or flavor. That is the case with this cave aged Gruyere. However, as I try many different cheeses for Cheese 101, I am hoping my palette, as well as my library of descriptors, will expand with my increasing knowledge and experience.

Cave aged Gruyere is crumbly in texture and has crystallization, providing a mild crunch. Not only does Emmi’s Gruyere feature a traditional nutty flavor, it also has hints of earthiness and fruit, including apples and pears. The unique cave environment creates an assertive Gruyere with complex flavors.

Cheese 101: Cave Aged Gruyere

Final Thoughts

Emmi’s cave aged cheese takes Gruyere to a new level, improving an already delicious variety of cheese. Add in crystallization and you have the perfect cheese for fondue, grilled cheeses, gratins or simply for snacking.

Additional Resources

Cheese 101: Mimolette

Mimolette (Boule de Lille)

  • Milk: Pasteurized Cow
  • Country of OriginFrance
  • Region: Lille
  • FamilyGouda
  • TypeSemi-Hard
  • TextureFirm
  • Rind: Natural
  • Aged: 18-24 Months
  • Beverage Pairing: Dessert Wines or Lighter Reds such as Rhones or Pinot Noirs
  • Grade (Out of 5)Cheese Grade: 2/5

Background

Either way, the truth probably rests with an episode, during the 17th century, when France was importing a considerable amount of cheese, especially from the Netherlands. The French minister, Colbert, put a stop to any foreign cheese imports and so the inhabitants of northern France started producing their own versions of some of the Dutch cheeses – hence Mimolette. In classic European tradition, Mimolette was only officially recognized in 1935 under a treaty between France and Holland. (Courtesy culture)

Looking like a cratered, dusty cannonball, Mimolette is infamously difficult to open for its super-hard, craggy countenance. Inspired by Dutch Edam, it has since gone in a unique direction; the appearance and floral aroma of the rind is the work of tiny mites, specially evolved to cheese. The French call them tiny affineurs for their important role in the aging process. (Courtesy Murray’s Cheese)

Production can be cooperative or industrial, and Mimolette is sold at varying stages of maturity, although the Extra Veille (Extra Aged) cheeses are distinctly different from the younger versions. The minimum maturation is six weeks, at which time the cheeses are still very moist and have not had time to develop much flavor. At the other end of the spectrum, cheeses can be matured for up to 24 months. (Courtesy culture)

Aroma/Flavor

I have to be honest about this cheese: I thought it had a  weird and uninspiring flavor. Besides being slightly nutty, in my opinion there was little aroma or flavor. I didn’t dislike the cheese, nor was I turned off, I simply thought this particular cheese was bland and lacking in substance. I sampled the cheese and then moved on.

Murray’s Cheese describes the flavor as “sweet, caramelized depth and smooth, fudgy finish” while culture says the flavors consist of “bacon, caramel, butterscotch and toasted nuts, with an underlying sweetness that is not cloying.” The Kansas City Star describes Mimolette as “Good, but lacking the complexities of other French masterpieces.” As I sampled Mimolette, these flavors were not apparent to me.

Cheese 101: Mimolette

Final Thoughts

I gave Mimolette a grade of 2-cheeses instead of one because I didn’t dislike the cheese. It simply didn’t move me one way or another. In my opinion, it is unimpressive and there are much better cheeses readily available.

Additional Resources