The Lady’s cheese friend, Randy Johnson, introduced her to Caves of Faribault Regional Sales Manager, Kelly McNamara, who in turn sent me a wedge of their latest cheese, Jeffs’ Select Gouda.
The two Jeffs have been friends for over a decade and share the passion of cheesemaking. Jeff Wideman has traveled the world judging cheese contests and visiting cheesemakers. In 2009, he made several vats of Gouda. Jeff Jirik who has been making cheese since 1979 and in 2001 bought the Caves, which had been closed for nearly a decade, offered his caves for ageing.
Traditionally in the US, Gouda is aged at controlled refrigeration temperatures. The two Jeffs decided to throw caution to the wind and age this Gouda in the warm, sandstone caves with high humidity for nine months.
Testing and tasting it, the two anxiously waited to see what they had created. At seven months, Jeff Jirik declared they had a winner.
And in the opinion of your humble Feline Foodie, it is a winner.
The first thing I noticed was the natural rind instead of wax. The rind is bright orange from being rubbed with annato. The paste is a caramel color and somewhat firm. The taste is nutty and butterscotch with a nice salty finish. Just a bit tangy, enough to… wait for it… to make The Man swoon.
The Lady served is naked with a few Marcona Almonds and Daelia’s Beer Flats (review of the latest creation from Daelia’s follows tomorrow).
It was a perfect snack after a long day in the cheese mines…
Made in Wisconsin and aged in Minnesota, this is a Cheese Without Borders made by Cheesemakers without Borders and lots of guts to work outside the cheese box.
I give Jeffs’ Select Gouda 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got and to do otherwise would be criminal… this is seriously good Gouda…).
Serving Suggestions: On a cheese plate between the Brie and the Blue; shave it on a salad with nuts and cranberries; melt it over pasta and don’t forget the grilled cheese and the mac n cheese creations that would only improve with the addition of Jeffs’ Select…
Wine Pairing: A dry white.
Beer Pairing: How about a pilsner… you’ll learn why I make this suggestion when I review Daelia’s Beer Flats…
Source: Pasteurized Cow Milk and made using a vegetable rennet
Trivia: America’s First Cave-Aged Blue Cheese, Amablue, is from the Caves of Faribault (1936).
FTC Full Disclosure – The cheesemaker/manufacturer sent me their product, hoping I would review the product/cheese.