I’ve done it again!–found another amazing cheese, of course.
If you’ve been keeping up with me here are the BKVineyardMarket blog, you may already know that I kinda have a thing for stinky cheese. Now if you haven’t been keeping up with me or you’re not all that familiar with the diversity of cheese, “stinky cheese” is just a more blunt way of saying “washed rind”. Washed rind cheeses are simply cheeses that have been “washed” or bathed in some sort of a brine during their aging process, imparting a new class of flavors and sometimes making the cheese quite pungent (read more about washed rind cheeses here).
Jasper Hill Farm, a highly regarded creamery, not only makes their own specialty cheeses, but they actually specialize in aging others’ cheeses in their unique cellars. Oma is one of these such cheeses. Coming from Von Trapp Farmstead in Vermont, Oma is a delightful raw milk cheese, made entirely with organic cows’ milk mostly from Jersey cows. It’s aged for about 10 weeks before it’s pulled and sent out for purchase!
Now when I call Oma a “stinky cheese”, please do not let this scare you. Washed rind cheeses come in a variety of shapes and sizes and, most importantly, pungency. That being said, Oma is a very approachable washed rind cheese, similarly to Taleggio but with just a little more oomph. My assistant and I got to give it a taste yesterday and we both agreed it’s a winner. The paste is springy but spreadable, sort of like St. Albray, and the flavor isn’t quite as pungent as it is complex. It’s got a buttery almost meaty taste to it followed by a very subtle sweet note. If you want to go big and try the rind, like my assistant always does, it gives a whole new taste to the cheese, introducing a nice earthy note.
With its flavor profile, I think this cheese could go well with a variety of beers; Jasper Hill recommends trying it with a Belgian Dubbel. As for wine, you could go red with a nice Burgundy or Pinot Noir, or if you prefer white try a good Riesling. As divine as it is by itself, you know I always have some accompaniment suggestions for you; try it with some roasted salted nuts or fig jam, and of course some crusty artisan bread.