Artisanal Cheese of the Month Club! Month 2

Cooking / Eating In

It’s my favorite time of the month – Artisanal‘s Cheese of the Month Club time!  In my last Artisanal post, I introduced you to four extremely mouthwatering cheeses.  Well, Artisanal has really outdone itself, because just when I thought it couldn’t get any better (and I’ve tried a LOT of cheese in my life), this month’s cheese plate is absolutely stellar.  I literally could not pick a favorite – each selection this month was jaw-dropping, drool-inducing, amazing.  I am seriously sad that less than half of each cheese remains.  Seriously. Sad.

But on to the cheeses! You will see them here in their full pre-Noshgirl-frenzy, glory!

The first cheese of this fabulous four was the diminutive Crottin (Mild):

“Crottin is a goat’s milk cheese made in the heart of France in the verdant Loire Valley. When the Crottin is young, it is moist and it has a light tangy goat’s milk flavor. As it ages, this pretty little cheese takes on a firmer texture and a fuller flavor. This is a lovely cheese that is excellent served warm with mesclun greens and it pairs especially well with Sancerre and Sauvignon Blanc. One piece weighs approximately 2 ounces.”

The first thing one notices with this tangy goat cheese is its size.  No bigger than a ping-pong ball, this tiny study in dairy delight packs a flavorful punch.  I tried my first sample on the day it arrived, and it was soft, tangy, light and slightly gamey.  As the days progressed, the cheese developed into a fuller, more robust flavor and texture that was very different from its earlier days.  Despite its petite stature, one could almost consider this developing cheese a two-for-one deal. Delish!

Moving around the cheese clock, the next selection this month was the velvety, unctuous Robiola Due Latti (Medium):

“Made in the Piedmont region of Italy, this mixed milk cheese (mostly from cow’s milk, and a dash of sheep’s milk) is a delectable treat. The paper thin rind covers an unctuous buttery paste that coats the palate. Mild and savory, creamy with a light lingering sweetness, this delicate pillow of soft-ripened cheese will be love at first bite. Champagne is a wonderful foil to this cheese, as are Cava and Prosecco.”

This cheese softens to a buttery, decadent consistency when at room temperature, and the favor is utterly luscious.  My mouth is literally watering right now as I think about this cheese.  The second I took a bite, I thought – this is the epitome of a perfect bloomy rind cheese. Full mouthfeel, rich yet not overwhelming.  If you ever come across the Robiola Due Latti, buy buy buy!

In the Bold section of the cheese plate, we have the aptly named Prima Donna:

“Prima Donna is a relatively mild style of a Dutch Gouda cow’s milk cheese that is aged for one year. As compared to a four- or six-year Gouda, Prima Donna has a distinctly softer texture and a more subtle flavor. It has an ivory rind with a slight rose blush, a crystalline texture, and a sweet, nutty flavor with a caramel aftertaste. Prima Donna is a versatile cheese for pairing with wines yet it pairs especially well with bigger reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Zinfandel.”

So I thought the Robiola Due Latti was a clear favorite, but then I tried the Prima Donna and I was torn.  Aged for one year, the Prima Donna has had a chance to develop the nutty flavor of aged Goudas and little teases of crystalline texture; yet it still maintains the softer elements of a young Gouda.  Prima Donna fills your mouth with flavor and demands your utmost attention.  I was especially taken with this fine cheese as it seemed like the younger cousin of one of my favorites Goudas – Roomano (also first introduced to me by Artisanal), which is aged up to 6 years.   Prima Donna = a must-try cheese.

We rounded out the cheese plate with Gorgonzola Piccante:

“Gorgonzola Piccante, a formidable cow’s milk blue cheese from the region north of Milan, is Italy’s answer to Roquefort. Its rough, reddish rind protects a tender, light yellow, blue-flecked paste that is firm, moist, and buttery. The flavor is sharp and sweet. Pair Gorgonzola Piccante with a sweet Italian dessert wine.”

Just as the Robiola Due Latti had been the perfect bloomy rind cheese, I dare venture that Gorgonzola Piccante was the perfect blue cheese.  I know, quite a statement. There, I said it!  Unimaginably creamy, spicy and buttery, this cheese is at once mild in texture and bold in flavor.  The contrast between the two forms a perfectly complete cheese experience with each bite.  I could have eaten this by the spoonful (and gladly would have) if it weren’t for the threat that there would be no more cheese left tomorrow.  Ah, the difficult life of being a cheese fanatic!

As you can see, my opinions on all of this month’s cheese were through the roof.  There wasn’t one “simply good” cheese in the bunch – each was blow-your-mind good.  While I rue the fast-approaching day when these blocks of cheese are but a distant memory, I look forward with great anticipation to my third Artisanal Cheese of the Month Club delivery!

If you had to pick just one of these cheeses to try, which one would you pick?

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  • Reply
    August 23, 2011 at 10:00 am

    I’d pick all of them to try! Oh, wait . . . I have to pick just one? Probably the Rabiola then – it looks like something I’d enjoy, and with your description, I can practically taste it 🙂

  • Reply
    August 23, 2011 at 10:09 am

    omg. I love cheese! if only it loved me back. If I could only pick one to try, it’d probably be the Robiola

  • Reply
    August 23, 2011 at 10:30 am

    I really like Gouda, so I would be interested in trying the Prima Donna.

  • Reply
    August 23, 2011 at 10:31 am

    I love cheese absiolutely!! delicious! gloria

  • Reply
    August 23, 2011 at 10:43 am

    I need a cheese of the month club in my life. Those look so amazing!

  • Reply
    August 23, 2011 at 10:45 am

    I’m a cheeseaholic and I’d like to try them all, but especially the Gorgonzola Piccante! Thanks for the informative post and great pics!

  • Reply
    August 23, 2011 at 10:47 am

    P.S. I just realized I’m not Google follower nor FB either. I’m shocked! I am now!

    • Reply
      August 23, 2011 at 4:08 pm

      Yay! Thank you for following 🙂

  • Reply
    August 23, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Yum — I love me a good cheese! If I had to choose just one of these, I think I’d go with the Gorgonzola Piccante. It sounds delicious!

  • Reply
    Dawn {The Alternative Wife}
    August 23, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    I’m really going to have to seriously consider joining this club. J would be over the moon! 🙂

  • Reply
    August 23, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    DROOL. Omg, this cheese made me somehow get out of my chair, get into the fridge and break out the roquefort we had in there. How did that happen??

    • Reply
      August 25, 2011 at 1:26 am

      Muahaha – I’m an enabler 😉

  • Reply
    August 23, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    I don’t think that I could pick just one…. Next time, I want an invite to enjoy in taste testing please! 😉

  • Reply
    August 23, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    Um, holy crap those sound delicious!!! The Robiola has been a favorite of mine for years as they serve it at Lupa in NYC if you get the cheeses for dessert and I LOVE it, but holy hell that gorgonzola sounds divine as well!

  • Reply
    August 24, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Prima Donna is one of my favorite cheeses. I love the crunchy bits of tyrosine. Drooling over here…. perhaps I’ll skip my Lean Cuisine and head to the nearest gourmet cheese counter!

    • Reply
      August 25, 2011 at 1:26 am

      Ah, never knew this term tyrosine – thanks for the fact! 🙂

  • Reply
    Maddie G
    August 24, 2011 at 9:44 pm

    I intern at Artisanal Cheese Company and I actually oversaw the packaging of that month’s cheeses! And I worked in the cheese caves as well so I probably cared for the cheese that you ate!

    Crottin is my favorite by far!

    I actually talk about my adventures on my blog here: I work with Max McCalman daily and help prepare cheese classes!

    Artisanal has such great cheeses. I’m having such a great time interning there. Photos of me in the cheese cave are on my blog too !

    • Reply
      August 25, 2011 at 1:27 am

      What a cool internship! Thank you for stopping by my blog! 🙂

  • Reply
    August 25, 2011 at 9:58 am

    gorgonzola. hands down.

  • Reply
    August 25, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Sign me up for all of them- especially the Robiola Due Latti (and yes, I copied and pasted that. LOL)

  • Reply
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