So once again, the week is coming to a close–but what an exciting week it’s been here at the BK Vineyard Market. With the nicer weather finally in full swing, we decided it was time to bring in some new tasty items. One such item is a cheese called Bethmale Vache.
Hailing from the Midi-Pyrenees region of France, in the Bethmale Valley not far from Spain, the Jean Faup Fromagerie produces the cheese known as Bethmale (named for the valley it’s from) and has been crafting these cheeses for five family generations. Bethmale is usually made using either goats’ milk or cows’ milk–the version we just received in our Vineyard Markets is the cow version called Bethmale Vache, “vache” meaning “cow” in French.
Bethmale Vache is made using raw cows’ milk and its rind is washed as it ages for 2 to 3 months, resulting in a peachy-orange colored exterior. The inside, however, is a pasty yellow color with a springy semi-firm texture. This cheese’s curds are not pressed during its production, so expect to find numerous pea-sized holes throughout its body. Being that it is a washed-rind cheese, it does give off a sort of…oh, how do I say this nicely…a funky damp-cellar sorta smell–but don’t let that scare you off! Like many of its washed-rind cousins, Bethmale Vache’s bark is worse than its bite. At first taste, it’s super rich and buttery, but it lingers on with a mild but meaty kind of earthiness that’s great on its own or with a variety of accompaniments.
If you’re new to the sticky cheese category and want to start off slow, give this cheese a whirl with some Goji & Pistachio kii Crisps or with a dollop of your best fig spread. Pairing with wine can go either way: an earthy Pinot Noir to compliment, or a fruitier wine for contrast to really bring out some of the funky notes in the cheese.