Artisanal Cheese of the Month Club!

Cooking / Eating In

Well, Artisanal has done it again.  Just when I think the cheese selection that arrives at my doorstep can’t comprise a more perfect ensemble of perfection, Artisanal steps it up.  This month’s Cheese of the Month Club shipment includes one of my “Top 5” cheeses, as well as 3 new selections that were new to me – I just LOVE learning about new cheeses!  Would you like to learn more as well? Keep reading…

Starting out the cheese clock was the beautiful Hoja Santa, Artisanal’s Mild selection:

“Hoja Santa was created by legendary cheese maker Paula Lambert, owner of the Mozzarella Company in Dallas, Texas.  Paula was careful to create a cheese that reflects its origins, so each of these young goat’s milk rounds is wrapped in a velvety, heart-shaped leaf from the local (and eponymous) Hoja Santa plant (piper auritum).  The Hoja Santa leaf imparts subtle tones of sassafras, anise, mint, black pepper to this soft, fresh chevre.  Here in the Artisanal Cheese Caves, we age the cheese for much longer than most fresh goat cheeses.  Then we dry the wet Hoja Santas, flip them, and wait until a few spots of perfectly edible mold grow on the rind.  This guarantees that the leaf has lost its chewiness and has infused the white paste with a light grassy note.  Pair Hoja Santa with Sauvignon Blanc or any light red with anise and peppery note.  Try it with Pernod, an aperitif; a must! One piece weighs approximately 5 ounces.”

I was extremely curious about this cheese because of its lovely wrapping – who doesn’t love string-tied packages?  The Hoja Santa leaf definitely infused this soft and mild goat cheese with a pretty intense anise and pepper aroma.  Funnily enough, while I’m not the biggest fan of anise or fennel flavor, it complemented this cheese perfectly.  Hey, if loving anise is wrong, I don’t want to be right.  I paired this cheese with roasted beets and pecans, and the combination was heavenly!  Oh and in case you wanted to see how this precious little present looked underneath its wrapping, here you go:

Next up, the Medium selection on the Cheese Clock.  Artisanal is on a roll with its Robiola selections – the previous two months have featured Robiola varieties, and each one is eyes-to-the-sky drool-inducingly scrumptious.  Robiola Bosina, this month’s Medium selection, was no exception:

Robiola Bosina, from the Langhe region of northern Italy, is a perfect, creamy blend of cow’s and sheep’s milk. Robiolas come in many shapes and sizes; this flat, square little pillow contains a luxurious, silky paste with smooth, well-balanced flavors. Bosina’s rind is resilient enough to protect its interior while it ripens to a deliciously runny consistency. The paste itself is mild, sweet, milky, and well worth trying with a wide range of wines from Merlot to Sauvignon Blanc. Try it with local silky Dolcetto d’Alba or Barbera.”

When this perfect piece of cheese arrived at my doorstep, I was a bit worried.  The rind, while sturdy, seemed to groan under the pressure of containing the runny, creamy interior.  My concern was quickly alleviated when I cut a slice and was rewarded with the most extravagant creamy texture of cheese. Reminiscent of one of my Top 5 cheeses (another Top 5 is listed below), Epoisses, Robiola Bosina paired a mild, sweet flavor with this intensely luscious texture.  I treasured each enjoyable morsel!

Moving around the Cheese Clock, the Bold selection this month was a cheese that was heretofore unknon to me – Hittisau:

Hittisau is the namesake cheese from producer Sennerai Hittisau in the beautiful Bregenz Forest of Austria just over the border from Bavaria. Silage-free raw cow milk from local farms gives this cheese a deep, slightly sweet flavor with occasional notes of hazelnuts at just over five months of age. The rind is brightly colored and the firm texture can develop a smattering of small eyes.  The Hittisau pairs well with ales, wheat beers, bold red wines, Blanc de Blanc Champagnes, as well as Rieslings, Grüner Veltliners, Muscats, and Chardonnays.”

I definitely noticed the hazelnut overtones in Hittisau; they were quite subtle in my piece.  What appealed to me even more about this cheese was the sweet but slightly meaty flavor that gave it a strong finish.  This cheese may seem mild at first bite, but don’t underestimate its complexity.  Hittisau just begs to be noticed!

And last, but most definitely not least – one of my favorite cheeses ever (and that’s saying a LOT!) – Roomano completes the Cheese Clock  as the Strong selection:

“Roomano is a skimmed cow’s milk Gouda from Holland aged up to six years. The texture is hard and crystalline; the flavor has intense caramel and butterscotch tones. Roomano is suitable for grating as well as eating – pair this cheese with big reds or crisp, fruity whites or… with dark coffee and let surprise your tastes buds

I was first introduced to luscious, caramel-ly Roomano at my first Artisanal restaurant dinner – the fromagier recommended it and it’s reigned in my Top 5 ever since.  The flavor is extremely intense, as would be expected of a Gouda that’s aged for six years.  The texture is drier than your typical gouda, with crystallized crunchy notes in each bite.  The flavor is concentrated; too much of a bite will send you in a cheese-induced head rush (not that I’m complaining).  If you ever come across Roomano, definitely definitely try it and let me know what you think.  I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I do!

Once again, Artisanal spoiled this cheese-lover with top-notch selections.  I especially enjoyed the mild texture of the Hoja Santa, the creamy luscious perfection that was Robiola Bosina, the understated but flavorful Hittisau, and of course my old fave – bold and intense Roomano.  Artisanal, your Cheese of the Month Club selections were once again winners!

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

My previous Artisanal Cheese of the Month Club posts:

Month 1

Month 2

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  • Reply
    September 12, 2011 at 10:01 am

    I’m guessing that I would devour the Robiola in a heartbeat if I had that it my house! But all of these cheeses sound and look so tasty 🙂

  • Reply
    September 12, 2011 at 10:03 am

    yummy!!! i love these posts. it’s like i can taste the cheez thru the screen (I can’t).

  • Reply
    September 12, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Yum! I would love to try the Hoja Santa!

  • Reply
    September 12, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Oh my! The Roomano looks like a piece of chess pie! 🙂 I was intrigued by the Robiola Bosina. It looks like it was oozing from the outside but then you mentioned it had a hard crust to get through. That’s definitely something I think I need to try someday. Oh and the goat cheese? That started the mouth watering and it continued through this whole post! These are just fantastic looking cheeses…I don’t know how you contained yourself to take pictures before diving in! 🙂

  • Reply
    Elina (Russian Bites)
    September 12, 2011 at 10:38 am

    These look incredible!! I love all cheese except for blue cheese so I’d be scared to get this kind of membership since I know most cheese lovers love the stinky kinds 🙂
    Gorgeous pictures!! 🙂

    • Reply
      September 12, 2011 at 11:34 am

      Thank you for stopping by my blog! Welcome 🙂

  • Reply
    September 12, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Your photos and cheeses never cease to amaze me! What do you full-time? Or do you blog? I love how much of a foodie you are! I have a great appreciation for it!

    • Reply
      September 12, 2011 at 11:35 am

      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed the post!

  • Reply
    September 12, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Like you, I’m normally not a fan of fennel or anise but I’ll have to take your word on how delicious that Hoja Santa was!

  • Reply
    September 12, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    this club sounds phenomenal. when my mom asks for gift ideas, i’ll have to remember this!!

  • Reply
    September 12, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    i love strong, crystalline cheeses, so i’m with you on the roomano! although that robiola looks lovely as well.

  • Reply
    Geek in Heels
    September 12, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Okay that does it…I’ve been drooling over your Artisanal Cheese of the Month posts for what seems like forever now. But now that my due date is drawing near, and I can start eating all cheese without worries, I’m gonna try my best to try to convince the hubs that we need to subscribe to this. (Do you get credits/points for referrals? If so, please send me an email!)

    • Reply
      September 12, 2011 at 7:38 pm

      Yay, I am so glad that you will be getting Cheese of the Month too!! 🙂 As far as I know, there’s no referral credit, but I’ll just be happy to know that you’re eating amaazing cheese 🙂

  • Reply
    September 12, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Why am I not in a cheese club? These sound heavenly.

    • Reply
      September 12, 2011 at 7:38 pm

      You should totally join in a few months 🙂

  • Reply
    September 12, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    I want cheese. Feed me Serena!

    • Reply
      September 12, 2011 at 7:39 pm

      Nom nom, you should definitely partake in the Cheesy goodness!

  • Reply
    Dawn {The Alternative Wife}
    September 12, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Yum, yum, YUM! More major goodness 🙂

  • Reply
    September 12, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    Thats really neat to be able to experience different cheeses each month. I like cheese but I never really ventured out of the norm of american, swiss, or prov. But these sound really tasty…love the history behind them too! 🙂

  • Reply
    A Brit Greek
    September 13, 2011 at 5:33 am

    I had no idea you were a cheese fan, you’d love it here in Greece, so much variety. i remember moving here and standing in front of the delicatessen in the super market astounded by the selection.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Jenn from Much to My Delight
    September 13, 2011 at 6:49 am

    Now this is a club I should be a member of!! I think I need to try that beautifully wrapped Hoja Santa goat cheese pronto. That sounds like pure heaven. Thanks for giving your feedback on these. It’s always overwhelming to go to an extensive cheese counter with absolutely no direction.

  • Reply
    September 13, 2011 at 7:18 am

    This sounds like a club I really need to join. All of these look SO GOOD.

  • Reply
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