Winnimere Washed Rind Cheese

April 14 2010 - 11:06 AM

I lived around the corner from a cheese shop in
Denmark, and you could smell the stink from outside the building.  Popular among Danes was a washed-rind Havarti with caraway
seeds, and though  I haven't seen it in the States,  I remember how it stunk up
my fridge.

Sometimes I get a naughty pleasure in bringing a washed-rind cheese that smells like
someone's armpit to a social gathering, only to watch peoples'
reactions.  These funky fromages, for those not in the know, are basically  soaked in a solution such as brine, wine, beer, cider, spices.  The solution imparts a type of bacteria on the cheese, giving it its stink and contributing to its flavor.

This weekend I challenged the folks behind the counter at Pastoral's Lakeview location to give me some really unusual cheeses.  There were three cheeses that I narrowed down my search to, but the most memorable was the Winnimere, a washed rind raw cow's milk cheese from Vermont.

Winnimere not only has the lovely bouquet one expects to find, but also finishes with a rich smoky taste and a creamy body.   I did some digging around to find out how it was made, and I was blown away by the process.

From Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro, it is made by washed rind comes from a raspberry lambic beer brewed from the farm's yeasts.    Then the wheels are wrapped in spruce bark and aged for 60 days, the minimum period required by the  U. S. government to age raw cheese giving an unusual depth and lingering finish.  It is also only made between November through April.