After a brief hiatus, owing to the hectic and indelible nature of life at present, cheese of the week returns, following a farewell and birthday cheese party for a dear friend.
I believe this little nugget to have been sent to me in error – a beautiful, tasty error. This little cheese is hard to come by, even in France, as it is made only by one small-production farmer near Lyon. It’s a demi-sec crotton, but made of sheep’s milk rather than goat, and the top adorned with sprigs of thyme.
I mean, I know I say that a lot. But whoa.
It is dainty in appearance, with its wistfully placed thyme sprigs that become encrusted within the rind as it wrinkles with age, and the flavor of which permeates down through the dense, cakey pate. The flavor is remarkably simple, but no less beautiful – smooth, rich, nutty, sheepy, punctuated by the strong, but not overwhelming presence of thyme.
The delicate flavor lingers on the palate long after the pate has melted away – mellow and almost sensual in its finish.
It was easily the first cheese to disappear from the board, though this was in part owing to its diminutive size, and not helped by its elegant and pleasing deliciousness.