January 6th, 2008

C. Way/ © 2008

Cabrales Cheese

Of all the Cabrales pictures I found while scouring Google Images, this seemed most to communicate the forbidding-ass, hoary, curmudgeonly flavor of this most formidable blue cheese.

Cabrales is a Spanish blue, usually from cow, but in the case of the piece I bought, a blend of sheep’s, goat’s and cow’s milk. Like other blues, it’s aged in caves until it’s pretty damn raw.

I bought mine at the Whole Foods in New York at Columbus Circle. I had no idea what I was in store for. I only picked it because it looked the most grumpy. It was sitting there on the far end of the blues, hunkered down, surly, like a grizzled, feral cat.

Anyhow, I got home, unwrapped it, tried it, and was stunned. This cheese is a troll grandfather whose savage breath makes you shut your eyes but whose zyklon war stories & randy secret-wife asides open them right the fuck back up.

In non-troll terms — it’s a tough cheese to love. It’s surprisingly acid, not very tender, sort of molar-sticky. But the flavor once you get past the bouncer is incredibly complex: woodsy-nutty, tangy, forceful, rich. It takes 5 or 10 seconds to really settle in. Language lets me down (or vice versa), and I don’t have the ready stock of adjectives/jargot that wine-nuts do — “vegetal”, “notes”, “tannins”, etc etc — so I’ll just say simply that the flavor is unlike that of any other blue I’ve tried, and is much stronger, more stubborn, and less cheese-like than I thought I could care for.

In this regard, it’s more like a hard red wine than a cheese. It makes your mouth sort of freak out and huddle (4th quarter time-out style) before rallying and realizing there was nothing to be afraid of after all — JUST STANKY BLUE LUV.

[posted by C Way at 3:22 PM]


[file under: Culinary Arts ]

Comments (2) To “STANKY BLUE LOVE: Cabrales”

  1. Alan said:

    He looked skeptically at the cut of cheese. He turned it over on its back to see was the other side any better. The other side was worse. They had laid it better side up, they had practiced that little deception. Who shall blame them? He rubbed it. It was sweating. That was something. He stooped and smelt it. A faint fragrance of corruption. What good was that? He didn’t want fragrance, he wasn’t a bloody gourmet, he wanted a good stench. What he was wanted was a good green stenching rotten lump of Gorgonzola cheese, alive, and by God he would have it.

  2. C.Way said:

    Zola! That was my gateway into blues. I think your comment fairly well summarized my modus in the cheese aisle. Wander, sniff, stop when eyes water & I grow dizzy –> jackpot. Best — SCrow

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