It was a Dark and Cheesy Night – First Meeting Of The League of YEG Home Cheese Makers

On a frozen evening at the beginning of December the first meeting of the League of YEG Home Cheese Makers was hosted by our member Rick and his wife Lorrie.  We were gathering to share our first cheeses that we made and to talk of all things cheese.  It was about -25C and we had just come out of a snow storm that dropped almost 15 cm of snow over a few days and not all the starting group could attend, but it was fitting that it was a festival of Bloomy Rinds.  I will be honest that we spent more time eating cheese and talking than taking pictures of the cheeses.  It was a great evening, with good company and great cheese.

The bloomy rind festival matched the snow outside.

The bloomy rind festival matched the snow outside.

Clock wise from the top: Little Squirrel v7 by Ian American Style Brie by Larry Camembundy by Ian Goat Semi-lactic two ways by Jonatan

Clock wise from the top:
Little Squirrel v7 by Ian
American Style Brie by Larry
Camembundy by Ian
Goat Semi-lactic two ways by Jonatan

We started with wine, there were a few Canadian wines on hand to help us with the tasting all of them paired quite nicely with our cheeses. Then we introduced our cheeses and tried them as we did.  Rick and Lorrie did an amazing job with the hosting, there were assorted breads and crackers.  A charcuterie plate, fondue and  lots of vegetables, I think they set the bar for hosting quite high.

First up was the Little Squirrel, based on a Charouce recipe.

First up was the Little Squirrel, based on a Charouce recipe.

Tasting Notes For Little Squirrel V7

  • Appearance: The rind was wrinkly, brainy, and white (I am still not sold on PC ABL)
  • Nose (aroma): I slightly earthy smell but  lactic.
  • Overall Taste: Dry with a hint of salt, smooth at the same time
  • Sweet to Salty: It wasn’t salty at all, everyone said it had the right amount but I though it could have used more
  • Mild (mellow) to Robust to Pungent (stinky): I think it was a little on the mild side, but it was only two weeks old
  • Mouth Feel: (gritty, sandy, chewy, greasy, gummy, etc.): Chalky for the most part, but Jonatan said that is how a young Charouce should be.

Next up was Larry’s American Style Brie, he was worried about the fact it felt so soft. We all had a look of excitement about us.

Larry's American Style Brie that held an amazing treat inside.

Larry’s American Style Brie that held an amazing treat inside.

Tasting Notes For American Style Brie

  • Appearance: The bloom seemed to have faded in a few spots, but over all it looked the way a Petite Brie should in my opinion.
  • Nose (aroma): There was a hint of ammonia, but the mushroom/earthy smell of the Brie won out.
  • Overall Taste: Amazing, well-balanced, just the way a Brie should
  • Sweet to Salty: As with the well-balanced part it had the right amount of salt and a light hint of sweet.
  • Mild (mellow) to Robust to Pungent (stinky): I wouldn’t call it mellow or robust, but it was perfect.
  • Mouth Feel: (gritty, sandy, chewy, greasy, gummy, etc.): Creamy, soft and lovely.  To me this was the star of the evening.

I am sorry for not having a picture of the internal paste of the Brie, I was too busy stuffing my face with it.  When it came time for Larry and his son to leave he offered to share.  If I did not have a cheese cave full of bloomy rind cheeses already I would have taken him up on it in a heart beat.

Jonatan's Goat Semi-Lactic Two Ways Left with MA4001, Right Thermo C

Jonatan’s Goat Semi-Lactic Two Ways
Left with MA4001, Right Thermo C

Next was Jonatan’s contribution, he provided us with a Goat Milk Semi-Lactic Cheese but done two ways.  He used MA4001 (farmhouse culture) with one and Thermo C on the other.  He used goat milk from a local goat dairy near Lacombe where he lives.

Tasting Notes For Semi-Lactic Goat Two ways

  • Appearance: Both had a good start on the coverage and the thermo one had a bald patch on top.
  • Nose (aroma): Both smelled goaty but in a good way
  • Overall Taste: The Meso one had a nice taste mild but did not hid the goat.  The thermo one had an interesting taste, not bad by any means but different, it was good
  • Sweet to Salty: The salt balance in both cheeses was perfect.
  • Mild (mellow) to Robust to Pungent (stinky): Both were quite mellow and each had their own distinct level.
  • Mouth Feel: (gritty, sandy, chewy, greasy, gummy, etc.): The meso goat had a certain chalkiness to it, but it suited the cheese.  The thermo cheese was incredibly creamy and melted in your mouth, but it was not runny by any means.

Lastly it was time for the Camembundy to fulfil its destiny and go to a better place.  I was worried that it would be an ammoniated mess, it was really soft on the sides and it started to crack.

Tasting Notes For Camembundy

  • Appearance: The rind was wrinkled, patchy and thick.  The internal paste was solid in the centre and gooey towards the outside.  Larry said it looked like melting ice cream
  • Nose (aroma): There was a definite ammonia smell when unwrapped, but then it went away and was replaced with an earthy smell.
  • Overall Taste: I liked it, it had the lactic taste in the firm section of the paste and the gooey outer layer had a slight salty bitter taste, but it was not off-putting at all.
  • Sweet to Salty: I was pleased with the salt levels with this cheese.  It was just like little bear’s porridge – Just right!
  • Mild (mellow) to Robust to Pungent (stinky): There was a certain smell to it, but not stinky I would definitely call this one Robust!
  • Mouth Feel: (gritty, sandy, chewy, greasy, gummy, etc.): Gooey and firm.  When the outer and the inner paste were taken at once it was great.  I jokingly called it a high-class cheese whiz.

As first meetings go it was great, we talked about cheese, got re-acquainted with each other, and proved what cheese geeks we really were.  Rick’s wife has a picture of us standing around a box he bought for a ripening box.  It had a plastic rack in it and we were staring at it like it was the crown jewels.  Yep cheese geeks and proud of it.  If I remember to get it I will post it.

The League of YEG Home Cheese Makers L-R: Larry, Rick, Ian, Jonatan Missing: Addie, Debra, Valerie.

The League of YEG Home Cheese Makers
L-R: Larry, Rick, Ian, Jonatan
Missing: Addie, Debra, Valerie.

If you live in the Edmonton Area and make cheese at home let us know, come on out and join the League.  We want to keep it to 10 to 12 members just so we can handle the numbers at peoples houses.  No you don’t have to grow a beard to join either.  Our next meeting will be in February or March where we will be showing off our curd washing skills with a Gouda, Harvarti or dare a I say it would be time for Josef to make his debut. Drop us a line through the contact me page on this site and I can get you the full details.

Until next time, go and make some cheese.

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2 comments

    1. It is the name of the recipe from Artisan Cheesemaking at home. It is suppose to give you a firmer paste, but this one was more French than “American” it has Thermo B in it as well as MA4001.

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