Thursday, April 26, 2012

You can't spell “fun” without a little ewe

There are some things that just shouldn’t be: 6am yogilates classes, bacon-flavoured ice cream, and double denim (or as I call it, the Canadian tuxedo).

Burtnee and Jaytee in their special outdoors clothin'.

Until today, there was another item on this list – sheep’s milk cheese.

Now I’m not claiming to be some kind of expert (of course I am! This blog is nothing BUT unfounded assertions of fromage knowlage), but I’m pretty sure cheese is made from cow’s milk, right? That’s if it doesn’t come out of an aerosol can, partially hydrogenated and mixed with the delightfully acrid stench of fake ham flavouring.

Ha! Just kidding.

But sheep’s milk cheese? How does one even milk a sheep? I imagine it’s like visiting the Big Merino in Goulburn – at the end of the day you end up feeling tired, ashamed and covered in lanolin.

Following the announcement a few weeks ago that I had to cut down all cheese except sheep’s milk cheese and ricotta (seriously?), I figured I should try it out. Sure, the last time I went to the Big Merino I ended up getting lost inside before emerging dehydrated and covered in fibreglass splinters, but really, that’s pretty much what happens any time I visit an exciting tourist attraction (cf. Space Mountain, 1996).

So I bought myself a piece of D’Affinois Ewe’s Milk Cheese. ($149 per kilo? Who am I, Gloria Vanderbilt?)

And the flavour...

Colour me pleasantly surprised!

It’s a little more sour-salty than goat’s cheese, but it has a milder taste – one that I sense would be more accessible for newcomers than goat’s cheese. For many, goat’s cheese assaults the palate with a flavour that says, “We raised this kid on nought but whiskey and tales of Scottish independence, and now she bears a cheese as strong as William Wallace…and twice as peaty!”

The best thing about this cheese is that its flavours are complemented and enhanced by a glass of wine. For this evening, I have chosen a fine February vintage and it works marvellously with my D’Affinois.

You know what? This cheese may be strange but, just like the Big Merino, it has a place in the great scheme of things.

Just like that old Goulburn landmark, it’s full of surprises. It reminds us of the importance of the humble sheep in our great agriculinary heritage, and it smells just a little bit like a disused shearing shed full of Scottish secessionists.

Fun fact: The Big Merino is affectionately known as Rambo.

1 comment:

  1. February *was* a good month for wine. But have you tried January? I may still have a cheeky bottle cellared.