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Flavors of Fall

This week, we’re thinking about Thanksgiving. What’s new to put on our cheeseboards? What interesting flavors can we add?  How can we spice up our fall fare?

We’ve found three seasonal cheeses that are perfect for this time of year. Whether you need something outside the ordinary for your Thanksgiving cheeseboard or are looking for something to enjoy with a friend in front of the fire on these chilly fall nights, we have some flavorful fall cheeses to share.

It’s all about the flavor – pure and natural. We’re all bombarded daily with the manufactured flavors invented by chemists. Not at Tastings! The flavors we’re featuring are all from Mother Nature: earthy truffles, spicy cumin, and dark espresso.

Come taste the flavors of fall.

Coffee Cowboy - Tastings Gourmet MarketGoat Rodeo Cowboy Coffee

It’s hard to forget a cheese with a funny name, and it’s also hard to forget such a big, rich, nutty cheese hand-rubbed with espresso.

The cleverly named creamery – Goat Rodeo – brings to mind the difficulty of herding free-spirited and fun-loving goats. But Goat Rodeo is much more than a great name: it’s where some of our region’s most innovative cheese originates.

Cowboy Coffee is a blend of goat and cow milk and will remind you a bit of Cheddar, but the coffee-covered rind is your first clue you’re in for something special. It’s a complex, subtle cheese with a delightful roast coffee flavor, thanks to its rub of Commonplace Perpetual espresso.

Have you ever thought about why cream goes so well with coffee? Imagine how delicious a creamy cheese is when a little coffee is added. Coffee and cheese is a natural match due to their shared flavors of nuts, fruit, butterscotch, and flowers.

Origin: Allegheny County, Pennsylvania
Producer: Goat Rodeo Farm & Dairy
Milk: Goat and cow
Rennet type: Animal
Rind: Rubbed with fresh espresso
Age: 6 months
Look: Light-colored paste with dark rind
Feel: Semi-firm
Smell: Coffee
Taste: Rich, nutty
Tastes good with: Nuts, chocolate, charcuterie
Pairs well with: Ales, medium to full-bodied reds

Leyden - Tastings Gourmet MarketLeyden Cheese with Cumin

Cumin is the standout flavor in Leyden (pronounced LIE-dehn), a Dutch gourmet cheese named after the city of Leyden (Leiden in Dutch). Our customers who have enjoyed this cheese while in Holland have been begging us to stock Leyden with its spicy flavor from cumin and texture from caraway seeds. The cheese is wildly popular in Holland.

Its low-fat content is its other standout feature. While it looks like Gouda, it is made with semi-skimmed milk and has only 30 to 40% fat. It was historically made from a byproduct of butter as a way to use the leftover curds and whey. Farmers added cumin seeds for taste and annatto for color, and the result is a flavorful cheese that looks terrific on the modern cheeseboard.

The zesty flavor comes from the cumin and caraway seeds, which are also responsible for its dry texture. The seeds draw whey from the Leyden curds and dry the cheese as it ages. (Think of how salt pulls water out of eggplant.)

Leyden is excellent with rustic bread and pickled vegetables. Add this flavorful cheese to eggs, sandwiches, salads, or pasta.

Origin: Netherlands
Milk: Pasteurized skimmed cow
Rennet type: Animal
Rind: Waxed
Age: 3 months
Look: Yellow paste scattered with seeds, a striking red rind
Feel: Firm
Smell: Fragrant zestiness
Taste: Mild cheese ramped up with tangy, spicy notes from cumin
Tastes good with: Dark, whole grain bread; dark chocolate; a soft caramel
Pairs well with: Beer and Ales; red wines


Toma Truffle - Tastings Gourmet Market
photo courtesy Pt. Reyes Farmstead Cheese Co.

Toma Truffle

Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company makes an excellent Toma. How to make a great Toma taste even better? Add Italian Black Truffles from Umbria!

The Toma starts with great milk from healthy, pampered, well-fed cows raised individually from birth. The all-natural, rbst-free milk forms the basis for this true farmstead cheese made by artisan craftspeople.

What you need to know about this cheese is that it is great even without the truffles. Anyone can add flavor to a mediocre cheese and create something people will find tasty. With this cheese, Point Reyes has taken its excellent Toma and created something people will LOVE. The truffles are secondary to the well-rounded cheese.

Made just once a year for the holiday season, Toma Truffle is perfect for your Thanksgiving table. Its earthy, complex finish begs to be paired with a glass of Champagne.

Origin: Point Reyes, California
Producer: Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company
Milk: Pasteurized cow
Rennet type: Vegetarian
Rind: Natural, covered with wax
Age: 90 days
Look: Light yellow speckled with pieces of black truffle
Feel: Semi-hard
Smell: Milky, truffley
Taste: Creamy, buttery, grassy tang finish
Tastes good with: Great on pasta, risotto, grilled cheese, veggies. For a real delight, pair it with something sweet (fruit), something savory (salty nuts or sautéed greens), and something bubbly!
Pairs well with: Champagne, Pinot Noir


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