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Posts Filed Under The ‘Abbaye de Tamie’ Category

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

What’s in Season


 Whats in Season

Here we are at a time of the year when our appetites wane; it’s just too hot. Maybe some watermelon, berries, or some other fruit, but other meatier foods? The heavier foods just don’t seem so appealing in the summer months. I personally enjoy the warm weather, far more than the colder. A big part of what I enjoy about this part of year is that more and more cheeses are coming into their prime, cheeses that were not quite at peak in the spring.

The younger cheeses, the ones that are aged less than three months, are ones that were produced when the vegetation available to the animals was fresh and diverse. Some animals that may have had to settle for hay in the earlier parts of the year were allowed to roam about outdoors and choose from new sprouts, young shoots, green leaves and grasses. All this fresh vegetation spells full flavors in the milk, as well as in the cheeses that are crafted from that milk.

The young goat milk cheeses, or cheeses that have some goat milk in them, are showing so pretty now: the Coupole, the Cremont, the Nettle Meadow Kunik, the Petite Mothais, and the Roves des Garrigues. We always look forward to seeing these come into their primes. And with a side of fresh berries, these cheeses are all you may want to eat for lunch, or breakfast, or later in the day! The Abbaye de Tamié is spectacular right now, to think of it: drawn from happy cows grazing on all types of flora in the valleys of the French Alps. Similarly, the Dorset suggests that the springtime in western Vermont was a good one. These two cheeses are available year-round but these two are primo now. Le Moulis is back, and like the previous two cheeses, this is a cheese that is delicious when it is at this age, and from cows grazing in the lush springtime of the Pyrénées.

Apparently Utah had good springtime weather too, the Terraluna is magnificent. I have come to appreciate this cheese more and more. I look forward to seeing how its flavors evolve throughout the year. One thing I have always counted on this time of year is having the assurance that the Alpine cow cheeses are sufficiently aged. The Appenzeller has some of those sparkling tyrosine crystals developing and there are some in the Hoch Ybrig too. Having a little snack of these cheeses does the body good. And for that matter, I see no reason to ever refuse a little Carles Roquefort when it is around.

Summertime is a great time for cheese, cut back on the other sources of protein.

Max McCalman

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Pilsner Picks Cow

Originally Posted at BrewingSomeFun.com

We may consider Pilsners to be on the light side of the beer spectrum but this does not mean they should be taken lightly. When it comes to pairing them with cheeses the Pilsners can hold their own with some of the big guns, stinky cheeses included.

cow 1 Pilsner Picks Cow

The water used to produce the best Pilsners is softened; this helps give them clarity and it allows the hop aromas and flavors to come forth. These distinct aromas and flavors is what give Pilsners their heft, while the alcohol contents of most of them remain moderate. This hop-forwardness of Pilsners can present pairing challenges to some of the milder goat cheeses, whereas other less flavorful lagers can meld pretty well with that family of cheese types.

Not to over-analyze it but we want to mindful of the potential for mismatches, particularly when they occur with goat cheeses. The goat cheeses can clash with some beverage partners, while on the other hand, the good goat cheese matches can be sublime. When the clashes do occur we just want to make sure that we don’t blame the goat! Goat cheeses have been much-maligned long enough. As I have noted over the years, the first no-no I get from people contemplating a selection of cheeses is the avoidance of goat.

The second no-no we hear when people select their cheeses is to skip the blues; almost as many people shy away from the blue cheeses as those that skip the goats. On the blue (strong) end of the cheese spectrum is where the Pilsners may also falter. For most cheese categories in between these two bookend cheese types, the milder goats and the big bad blues, Pilsners perform admirably. To savor the finer qualities in a Pilsner you may want to skip over the blues.

If we skip the mild young goat cheeses and the blues (but do not entirely write either of them off) we can find a broad grouping of cheeses that are Pilsner friendly: most cows, some sheep cheeses (which tend to be versatile with more beverages anyway) and some mixed milk cheeses. The pressed sheep milk cheeses such as the Bianco Sardo, Ossau Iraty, or Stella Royale have their own full aromas that can balance the aromas in the Pilsners.

The wash-rind cow cheeses pair especially well with the Pilsners, younger to older. The meaty aromas in the cheeses provide the balance to the beers. This should be no surprise since these cheese types have long been produced in the regions where the Pilsners first flourished:Czechoslovakia and Germany. When you are enjoying some of these stalwart cheese types, you may look for something refreshing in your beverage as a counterpoint, like a Pilsner. Of the more aged ones, try the Andeerer Schmuggler, the Appenzeller, the Hittisau, the Prattigauer, and the Uplands Pleasant Ridge. For the younger, stinkier cow cheeses, try the Abbaye de Tamié or the Edwin’s Munster.

There are a couple of other cow cheese categories that fit the bill: the cheddar types and the cooked curd or Gouda types. The success with the Pilsners can be attributed to the “sharpness” in those cheeses: the acid, the salt, as well as the texture. When you have all these pronounced qualities in cheeses a chilled Pilsner can be just the ticket. The Gouda, 4 y.o.; the Roomano; the Terraluna or the Quicke’s Cheddar; any of these leave a happy ending in the mouth and tummy.

Thursday, June 16th, 2011

Pairing Wheat Beers and Cheese

Originally posted at Brewingsomefun.com

10454 Pairing Wheat Beers and Cheese

If wheat beer is not your cup of tea (or not your pint of beer) you might consider trying one with a wide selection of cheeses. I admit that it was not my favorite style of beer either, that is until I had one recently with an array of cheeses. The wheat beer played nice with every cheese on my plate: the Hoja Santa, the Roomano, and the Stilton, and especially well with the Nettle Meadow Kunik, the Terraluna, the Abbaye de Tamié (referenced below) and the Scharfe Maxx.

I recently wrote about a cheese that “screams” beer, that lovely Abbaye de Tamié, a cheese that paired well with each and every kind of beer that I had before me. I would not say that the Abbaye de Tamié is an extreme cheese whatsoever, though it does have quite a lot of character. This cheese may not be for everyone on its own. The same applies for the wheat beers: maybe not for everyone but it is a beer that screams “cheese.”

This is one of the greatest things about pairing beers with cheeses: a cheese that you might not normally choose might actually taste great with the right beer partner, or vice versa. Along with delivering some delightful mixes these pairings can open up new appreciations for second-choice (not second class) cheeses or beers, ones that you would typically avoid.

Part of the key to successful pairings of cheese with the wheat beers is that those beers tend to be especially effervescent, always a plus for cheese partners. The underlying silky textures of wheat beers make smooth platforms for toothsome cheeses.

The wheat beers also tend to be lighter flavored; they can meld into cheeses a little more gracefully. These beers are less bitter than almost all ales. The bitter may be an attractive flavor quality for some beer lovers but it can also present special challenges to cheese partners.

Try a wheat beer wit your next cheese plate, and skip the lemon peel.

Max McCalman

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Breakfast of Champions

10900 Breakfast of ChampionsOriginally posted at Brewing Some Fun

We have the marvelous Abbaye de Tamié in our caves now. This lightly pressed cow milk cheese is produced at the eponymous abbey in the French Alps. The abbey has helped sustain itself with the production of this marvelous cheese since its founding in the year 1132. The cheese has been produced pretty much the same away all along, thankfully.

If there ever was a cheese that screamed “beer” this is the one. Part of its success in pairing with all kinds of beers is its balanced flavor. It does not rely on the salt to make it work. Another part of the success of the pairing of beers with this cheese is that the soft texture of the cheese likes the beer’s bubbles. This cheese can be a little challenging for most wines, even though it is not a strong cheese. I have tasted the Abbaye de Tamié with several different styles of beers and it invariably works.

The cheese is produced with unpasteurized milk,which happens to give it an extended shelf life, as well as a full aroma and flavor. A generous dose of umami rounds out its flavor profile while the aroma takes you to one of the most beautiful places on earth – the Alps. You could easily consider having this cheese on its own. It has an eggy flavor; it reminds me of scrambled eggs, with a touch of salt and no pepper, cooked in butter.

Speaking of eggs, the Abbaye de Tamié has about twice the amount of protein in weight as an egg, and less fat, even before the egg is cooked in oil or butter!

If you would rather not be reminded of eggs then try this amazing cheese with the breakfast of champions – beer. You will get a great start to your day. A piece of fruit on the side is optional; the beer should deliver enough fruit flavor on its own. Some fresh crusty baguette will suffice. Along with the umami, the Abbaye de Tamié (being a youngish unpasteurized cheese produced from milk of animals who have a wide diversity of plant species in their diets) also delivers a lot of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) that beneficial weight-reducing and cancer-fighting fatty acid.

We don’t have the Abbaye de Tamié available all the time; the production is limited. It is here now though, and those that come in should be in great form through to the end of the year. So get them while you can.

Max McCalman