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Our featured cheeses this week are truly “ewenique”— they’re all made with sheep’s milk. Because the milk is much higher in protein and healthy fats than cow’s milk or goat’s milk, sheep’s milk cheeses tend to be ultra-rich and creamy. Some of our most popular cheeses at Tastings are made from sheep’s milk, and we’re pleased to add these three to our repertoire.

Sheep’s milk cheeses are relatively rare in the U.S., and that’s because there are so few sources for sheep’s milk. Sheep don’t offer much milk and most sheep raised in the U.S. are for wool or for meat.

Lamb Chopper Tastings Gourmet MarketLamb Chopper

The first thing you’ll notice is the label. You’ll can’t help but sing “Born To Be Wild” when you see the amusing illustration of a lamb riding a Harley.

Far from wild, this mild Gouda-like cheese has a pleasingly smooth texture and a surprising variety of amazing flavors: nuts, vanilla, caramel, and butter. Lamb Chopper will, quite simply, blow your doors off.

A welcome addition to any cheeseboard, Lamb Chopper can be enjoyed as is or used in cooking. Whether shaved over salad or bread, or melted onto sandwiches or omelets, you’ll want to invite Lamb Chopper to your feast.

Origin: Netherlands
Producer: Cypress Grove
Milk: Pasteurized sheep
Rennet type: Vegetarian
Rind: Wax
Age: 3 months
Look: Light buttery color
Feel: Smooth, firm
Smell: Mild, sweet
Taste: Sweet, nutty, mild
Tastes good with: Proscuitto, dried fruits, fresh pears
Pairs well with: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, French Vouvray

Flagsheep - Tastings Gourmet MarketFlagsheep

Beecher’s Handmade Cheese makes only 3000 pounds of Flagsheep each year, and that’s just one reason we’re so pleased to be featuring this ”Best of Show” winner at the American Cheese Society’s annual competition. It’s a flavor bomb!

Flagsheep is made with one-third sheep’s milk, with the balance coming from local cows. The addition of sheep’s milk accounts for the richness of flavor. The cheese is made in the same way as Cheddar but with a dash of Swiss to make it sweet and tangy. Think butterscotch. This is a complex cheese and you’ll also taste salty, nutty, grassy, and meaty flavors. Flagsheep is dotted with protein crystals, a hallmark of aged cheeses. And you’ll love the long shards of cheese that break off, begging to be eaten as you prepare your cheeseboard.

Origin: Seattle, Washington
Producer: Beecher’s Handmade Cheese
Milk: Pasteurized cow and sheep
Rennet type: Traditional
Rind: Natural, clothbound
Age: 18 months
Look: Straw-colored
Feel: Dry, hard, brittle
Smell: Musty, caramel
Taste: Earthy, fruity
Tastes good with: Olives, charcuterie, honey, rustic bread
Pairs well with: Cabernet, dry whites

Mitibleu - Tastings Gourmet MarketMitiBleu

This rare cheese is Spain’s answer to France’s Roquefort. The milk is from sheep that graze the mountains of La Mancha, and then the cheese travels to El Escorial, the summer home of the Spanish King, for aging. Full-bodied and made for the true blue cheese lover, MitiBleu is bold and flavorful. It is crumbly and moist and would be tasty on a baguette or in a salad.

Origin: Spain (La Mancha)
Producer: Mitica
Milk: Pasteurized sheep
Rennet type: Traditional
Rind: None
Age: 4 months
Look: Blue-green veins, ivory paste
Feel: Crumbly, moist
Smell: Sheepy
Taste: Tangy, fruity, salty
Tastes good with: Honey, baguette
Pairs well with: Riesling, full-bodied reds, Sherry

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