Grassias, the newest entry into our retail line, is produced in Dallas, Texas at Paula Lambert’s Mozzarella Cheese Company. This attractive little cheese is made with a mix of cow and goat milk, and then encircled with Lemon Grass leaves. The blend of cow and goat is a plus on its own, like the “best-of-both-worlds.” Quite frankly, some people just can’t do the goat, or so they believe. The Grassias may turn out to be an excellent gateway to the wonderful family of goat cheeses, the goat flavor moderated by the buttery cow.
We began working with Paula on developing this cheese over a year ago. One of the original sixteen retail cheeses looked and tasted fine when it was brand new, but they started to decompose too quickly. They lost their charming flavor and the texture became brittle. Recognizing Paula’s award-winning success with young cheeses, we hoped she could help us come up with a recipe that would work. The criteria were that it be a “mild” cheese (the CheeseClock™ quadrant from which the previous cheese was taken), that it be available in high volume (one reason the cow milk was included) that it would have an extended shelf-life and that it be a cheese of exceptional quality. The idea of a mixed milk cheese was a great starting point, especially considering that it was going to be produced from pasteurized milk. (Having a second milk type would enhance the flavor profile of a heat-treated milk cheese.) And because Paula has experience with leaf-wrapped cheeses (as in the Hoja Santa) we thought adding a different leaf would be add a nice touch, a leaf that would be available throughout the year.
When we tasted this cheese several months ago we knew we had a winner. It is mild, very approachable, aromatic, unique, pleasing, and lovely. As I tasted it I thought about its aging potential: how long would it keep? I also considered its versatility with wines: which wines would pair best? When we help samples out to 30 days we noted little difference from when it first arrived. Samples we held out to over 60 days were just as good, if not better.
Regarding its wine partners, I would expect that it will do well with a broad range of wine types. I will taste it with 4 different wines in tonight’s Cheese & Wine 101 class; and make a note of its successes. Paula let me know that she had just tasted the Grassias in a Beer Tasting and said it was excellent with all of them. The fact that lemongrass flavored Thai food pairs well with beers this makes sense. We will taste it with more beers, several more wines, maybe even Scotch in the coming weeks. That’s what we do here: taste our cheeses with many other foods and beverages (fun!) so we can inform you of what combinations work best.
If you are in the Big Apple sometime you might drop in for one of our classes to decide for yourself which pairings work best. Or you can simply order a few wheels and have your own Grassias pairing party. We would love to get your feedback.
Max McCalmanPosted by Artisanal Cheese