Everything from cheese plates to canapes can have more zing with flavored cheese. Here, Jalapeno Co-Jack from Loleta Cheese Factory and Emmenthaler are combined with red-leaf lettuce, a pitted olive and a grape tomato on a toasted bread round (first toast, then use a cookie cutter). Photo by Eugene Bochkarev | IST.





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STEPHANIE ZONIS focuses on good foods and the people who produce them.



April 2008

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Cheese-Butter-Yogurt

Flavored Artisan Cheese: Beyond Smoke & Herbs

Part II: Artisan Cheeses Flavored With Beer, Wine, Cider & Other Alcohol



This is Part II of a six-part article. You can click to the different sections via the yellow box, below.

Libation Sensations: Cheeses Flavored With Alcohol

Imagine the happiness of those individuals in ancient times who discovered that cheese pairs brilliantly with wine, beer and cider! If you’re a cheese lover, you’ll know about washed-rind cheeses—those that have their rinds repeatedly brushed or rubbed, often with an alcohol or cider, during the aging process, to develop complex flavors and aromas in the cheese.

Here, we’re talking about something different: cheeses that are are either are soaked in alcohol or cider, infused with it for a period of time, or use it as an ingredient. Because alcohol or cider is more thoroughly incorporated into the cheese this way, you’ll get more of the beverage’s flavor. As with every flavored cheese, the key is in the balance: You want a harmonious blend of tastes. Because of the cooking process, you won’t find the pronounced flavor of alcohol in any of these cheeses—just an elegant touch.

Frog City Cheese makes an unusual Cider Soaked variety of its “traditional granular curd Plymouth cheese” (I had thought that “granular curd” might mean a granular texture, but it doesn’t—the cheese is smooth). The cheese has unusual, reddish-brown veining throughout. It really is reminiscent of cider, which is not a surprise, given that it undergoes a three-day “infusion” of Woods’ Boiled Cider. The cheese is a natural with good apples, and it would be a perfect accompaniment to a whole-grain bread and perhaps some cured meats. Enjoy it with a glass of cider, too!

The addition of Scotch Ale to Cheddar distinguishes Hopscotch, from Fiscalini Farmstead Cheese. The ale is added while the curds are still in the vat, after they’ve been milled. After a 2 hour ale soak, the curds are drained and pressed. (Read THE NIBBLE’s full review of Fiscalini Farmstead cheeses).

Rogue Chocolate Stout Cheddar
Chocolate stout, from neighbor Rogue Ales, creates a beautiful marbling in Rogue Creamery’s Chocolate Stout Cheddar. Should you serve the cheese with the stout? Of course!

Pedrozo Dairy and Cheese Company makes not one, but three alcohol-steeped cheeses. Bubbly Cow is soaked in Sparkling Rosé, Stout Cow is matured in Sierra Nevada Stout and Tipsy Cow ages in a California red wine. Each of these cheeses is soaked in its respective alcohol for between five and seven days, or until the cheesemaker judges that the alcohol has thoroughly saturated the cheese surface. None of the cheeses has a pronounced alcohol taste, but a hint of the alcohol’s taste comes through in the finish of each cheese. While Stout Cow and Tipsy Cow are available year-round, Bubbly Cow is normally a holiday cheese, usually made from November to February.

The folks at Rogue Creamery came out with a Chocolate Stout Cheddar a few years ago. Their neighbor in Oregon’s Rogue Valley, Rogue Ales, makes a Chocolate Stout that’s added to the curd still in the vat. The ale is rolled around the curd just before the curd is ladled into cheese hoops for pressing, making ale a dominant note in the flavor profile. Some people get just a whisper of chocolate taste, while others get a more definitive chocolate flavor.  

Finally, there are alcohol-enhanced chevres, such as the Roasted Hazelnut and Frangelico Torte from River’s Edge Chevre. You’ll read more about it in Part V, Sweet Cheeses.

Proceed to Part III: Hot, Peppery Cheeses

Go To The Article Index At The Top Of The Page


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