Permit me to continue my goat cheese tutorial. I have eaten the ash puck of all ash pucks, a yeasty goat cheese from Petaluma, California made by a classical pianist. In fact, every cheese made by Soyoung Scanlan is named after music, but Acapella – it’s something else. It is the most lyrical cheese I’ve ever eaten. Thanks to the folks at DiBruno Bros. for inviting me in yesterday for a nibble of this new arrival.
Scanlan makes cheese for Thomas Keller, of Napa Valley’s French Laundry and New York’s Per Se. You won’t find her cheeses, sold under the Andante Dairy label, at very many cheese counters, but they appear on best-of lists compiled by dairy-lovin’ celebs like Janet Fletcher. Some of Scanlan's other cheeses include Metronome, Minuet (a gorgeous triple crème), and Rondo (a mixed milk bliss-inducer dotted with pink peppercorn and tarragon).
Of the four Andante cheeses I tried, Acapella was the stand-out, not just because it was rolled in ash and Penicillium Roqueforti – I know, I know, my weakness – but because it was so distinct, so quirky. Imagine eating a cheese that tastes like the smell of fresh bread dough rising in your oven under a wet towel. Andante’s even got the same springy consistency – when you push down on it with a finger, it pops right back up.
DiBruno’s Hunter Fike calls the cheese from Andante Dairy “amazing.” He favors Scanlan’s Minuet, a goat’s milk triple crème that is so tender and mild you could cry. I like a cheese that haunts me, and Acapella does that. It hits notes I’ve never tasted in a goat cheese; even the smell of it – I have a tiny wedge in my crisper – makes me shiver, makes me want to put on some Tallis Scholars and lay down on the floor in the dark and just hum.