After giving them a bit of a hard time, while heavily praising their St. Maure goat cheese, I had to amend that post regarding a one-week-60%- price-increase from $5 to $8. In what I’m guessing was a hard-knocks lesson in supply and demand, a couple weeks later their pricing was back down to $5. [note: I heard from the farmer shortly after that the price increase was due to them increasing the weight of the cheese. My bad] I rejoiced. I bought not only the St. Maure, but their Valencay. The St. Maure, perhaps due to it not moving for a while, perhaps not, was extremely runny – which doesn’t turn me off – but it was extremely runny only around the inside of the rind, while having a lump of nicely textured cheese inside the ring of runny goo. I’m used to mature cheeses having a consistent gradient of ooze. It seemed like a fault to me, as if storage had been an issue. [this was not a storage issue, they had run out of their usual culture spores] I could be wrong here, but I figured I may as well mention that I vastly preferred the fresher version with a consistent texture.
Anyway, I wanted this post to be about the Valencay. Because their website description seems to be yoinked from Wikipedia, I figured I’d offer some additional tasting notes. It this cheese were scored like a wine, I’d give it a 94. It’s ultra creamy. The thick white bloom rind has a soft spongy texture with the ash giving it a touch of fine grit. Probably not for everybody, but I like the texture dance. For me, the smell is shockingly evocative of stepping into a very old building or cave in Europe – in an entirely pleasureful and happy sense. It brings me right back to a hotel in Paris, a wine cellar in Burgundy, or shop in Pienza – it’s startling, and I wish I knew why. It’s not because I had similar cheese there. There’s some aromatic compound that is present in this cheese and those places that we simply don’t have here in abundance. I apparently have a crush on that biochemistry. The creamy interior is like eating a cream-cheese-button-mushroom, then a touch of ripe grass, and a long, delicate finish of goat. This is a fantastic old-world style cheese, and seems vastly out of place in our largely blah world of cheese. It’s is absolutely a re-buy at $5, and I pray their quality can remain consistent.