The photo of this tender slab was sent to me by Alanna of London, our latest participant in the Blue Cheese Invitational. Alanna works as a full-time policy adviser but still finds time to ferret out delicious cheeses. She recently launched a blog, 360degreescheese, on which she documents a bit of in-home cheesemaking. Do check it out.
Alanna’s favorite blue is called Perl Las, a Welsh nub with a name that means “blue pearl.” It's made from organic cow's milk at Caws Cenarth, a small artisan dairy in Carmeshire, Wales. Look at that rind and those dashing blue stripes! I can almost taste this in the back of my throat, can’t you?
I tried this cheese at a St David's Day tasting of Welsh cheeses last week (St David's Days is on 1 March and is the national day for Wales) and it was the stand out cheese for me. It is actually a blue caerphilly cheese and doesn't have the sweetness of some other blues. The taste is a bit like having a small piece of slightly salty cream on the tip of your tongue - its soft and creamy but tastes distinctly strong. The smell is quite mild but musty and earthy.I love that in the piece I bought you can see the line where they pierced the cheese (I find the whole process of making blue cheese fascinating - the adding of the bacteria, the piercing of the cheese and the slow spread of blue through the open spaces. Its like the flavour slowly creeps into the cheese).I'm sorry I can't bring you a sample to eat!
Oh, Alanna, I’m sorry, too. It looks just like my type of cheese – a little bit crumbly, with a natural rind that suggests cavey notes, maybe a touch of leather? Thanks so much for writing in and sending a picture. Best of luck with blogging and cheesing in the U.K. We'll stay tuned.
In the meantime, I’ve got my nose in the air to sniff out Caws Cenarth, which not only makes Per Las but a gorgeous moon called Golden Cenarth -- winner of Best Welsh Cheese and Best Semi-Soft at the 2010 British Cheese Awards. Golden Cenarth looks like an Epoisse throw pillow. Maybe after our blue cheese marathon we will have to hover over washed rinds for a while.
Want to send in a photo of your favorite blue? Drop me a line, or visit the first post about the Blue Cheese Invitational.