Merry Christmas everyone. Even though the holidays are upon us I still wanted to share with you a great cheese. This week’s cheese is Bethmale, a raw cow’s milk cheese from the Midi-Pyrenees, a mountainous region south of Toulouse, France near the Spanish border. It’s a semi-hard cheese with a lovely washed rind that surrounds a light ivory center. I picked this cheese among the others at Whole Foods because it was described as one of their newest cheeses. (Worth noting, this is made with animal rennet so it is NOT vegetarian.) At first whiff it’s a bit nutty and the rind itself has a slight barnyardy aroma. The taste of the cheese is savory and a little sweet. I especially loved the rind on this cheese. It’s pleasantly thin and a little wild tasting, but it also had a faint taste of toffee. I always eat the rind of cheese (unless it’s wax) and some can have a very funky, almost overpowering taste and aroma, but that was not the case here.
Overall, the flavor and scent of this cheese are a little quieter than what I might normally pick. However, I think this would be a great cheese for a party cheeseboard. It’s flavor is familar enough to please those with more traditional tastes, but there is enough nuance, especially in the rind, to please more adventurous cheese lovers. This was nicely paired with Macintosh apple slices, but might be overpowered by a whole grain cracker. Though I didn’t see it at Whole Foods this style of cheese is also made with goat and mixed milks, which I would imagine would both be quite pleasing as well. This cheese retailed for $34.99/lb.