The quartet consists of; a nettle wrapped cheese, St. Pat’s, arriving in mid-March and exiting by summer, an unnamed and not yet released summer sibling, debuting in autumn is an herb coated delight named Pierce Point, creating room for the winter slot; entree the sweet and spicy dried pepper dusted Devil’s Gulch.
This sheep in wolf’s clothing, Devil’s Gulch is named after a local ravine that runs along the base of Mt. Barnaby. The base cheese of this buttery brood is essentially the same, made with pasteurized, organic Jersey cow’s milk from John Taverna’s Dairy. The twist is the toppings on the crowns change adding a whole new dimension to your tasting experience.
Devil’s Gulch is a bloomy-rind cheese, ripening from the outside in. The creamery rinses the fresh curds to remove a portion of the whey. This limits some of the lactic acid development thus imparting a sweeter flavor although no additional sugar has been added. The newly formed cheeses are drained without pressing, and are washed with a Riesling before the bloom develops. Afterwards they are transferred to an aging room for approximately four weeks. Shortly before being sprung, the cloud white rinds are dusted with fiery red, orange, and green confetti colored, sweet and spicy dried peppers–exquisite contrast.
I sliced this festive looking cheese in half, the mantle was soft and silky smooth and the heart was dense, mouth coating and rich. My nose was taunted with the aromas of earthiness, pungency and heat. The flavor was alluring, rich and buttery with hints of grass and mushroom. As my mouth was coated with luxuriousness my tongue and lips began to tauntingly tingle then tickle (although never too hot).
To ensure I didn’t induce a cream coma, I reveled in mouthfuls of my lil devil with slices of crisp juicy apples–any crisp juicy fruits will enhance the flavors and help cut the cream–and a glass of Pine Ridge (a blend of Chenin Blanc/Viognier). Sometimes you just have to take that devil-may-care attitude. Divine!