Sunday, September 17, 2006

Makes for Weekend Fun (Mitica Monte Enebro)

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Mitica Monte Enebro
Region: Spain
Milk: goat's milk

Yesterday morning, R. took his Jetta to the repair shop (again), and when the rental agency handed him the keys to a brand new, tomato-red Volvo S40...we figured it was a perfect occasion for an around-town excursion. We decided to head to a newly-discovered cheese shop in Studio City called The Artisan Cheese Gallery. Perhaps because of the generic-yet-stuffy name, or the fact that is was in the valley, we weren't expecting to be wowed. Much to our surprise, it turned out to be a wonderful find.
Bustling on a Saturday morning, this shop had several tastings happening at once and so many cheeses in the cases and stacked on the counters that I had never heard of or seen before, and many things were without labels. Making it a little less overwhelming,
we decided to try a couple of cheeses by makers we had become familiar with. The first was made by Cowgirl Creamery, and was called "Sally Goat". (Essentially, it was a very, very fresh-tasting goat cheese wrapped in grape leaves.) It was very subtle and quite good, but we expressed that we were interested in something with a bit more bite. The next two cheeses we tried were both Neal's Yard...Cashel Blue and Adrahan...both were fantastic. Since these two ultimately made the final cut, I will post details about them soon.
I do want to go back to Mitica Monte Enebro for a moment, and just mention that although it was not part of our findings this is a cheese worthy of an excursion. The rind is quite ashy, and looks almost like waves of lava rock. The best way I can describe the taste is something between a clean, flowery fresh goat and a sharp pungent blue cheese. It is really wonderful with crusty bread...and although I have not yet had it with wine, I think it would pair nicely with a full-bodied white. (a reader suggested trying the cheese with walnuts and lemon honey, which sounds incredible.)

The Artisan Cheese Gallery
12023 Ventura Boulevard
Studio City, California
owner: Fred Heinemann

p.s. - pick up a copy of Steven Jenkins' "Cheese Primer" while you are there!

*** I was corrected by one blog reader this week, who kindly let me know that Sally Goat is not made by Cowgirl Creamery, but rather Sally Jackson, in Washington. They also recommended the sheep's milk cheese wrapped in brandy-soaked chestnut leaves from the same cheesemaker. Thank you! ...a delicious treat for the holidays.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad you discovered the wonders of Monte Enebro as it is a special cheese. Next time try it with some walnuts in Lemon Honey - delicious. One thing to note is the Sally Goat you mentioned in your posting is not made by Cowgirl Creamery, but by Sally Jackson in Washington. Next time see if they have her sheep's milk cheese wrapped in brandy-soaked chestnut leaves - a real treat.

10:21 PM  
Blogger the cheese project said...

Thanks, Anonymous.
I will let the readers know!

10:34 AM  

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