Spring Board: Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Bread and Wine gets a jump on the season's pleasures
Spring is about transition and revival, when the lengthening days coax us out of our winter refuge. Doubly so at Pastoral Artisan; our cheese haven is located in Chicago, where extreme winter weather makes spring all the sweeter.
As we work to provide a balanced and eclectic selection of cheese and accompaniments, our goal is also to foster the social good of people coming together and sharing delicious food. Our spring selection reflects an exciting time, when fresh cheeses, made with the milk of pasture-fed animals, reappear, and firmer aged cheeses make their formal debut after careful nurturing over the winter. We hope you enjoy this mix of the season as much as we do.
Vintage 5-year Gouda
Pasteurized cow's milk
There are two Dutch names for Gouda: “young cheese” and “old cheese.” Vintage Five Year falls into the latter category, and what better way to celebrate the invigorating rejuvenation of spring than with one of the greatest examples of milk’s quest for immortality? Aged Goudas start like any other Gouda, but as they mature and lose moisture, they gain an intensity of flavor and textural complexity. The exciting crunch of crystallized amino acids and the salted caramel flavors of each brittle shard make for the perfect finish to your spring cheese plate.
Vermont Butter and Cheese Company
Pasteurized cow's milk, goat's milk and cow's cream
Cremont showcases the sweetness and tang of combining fresh cow’s and goat’s milk. The addition of crème fraîche takes this little cheese to the next level with a superlative richness. Adeline Druart, head cheesemaker at Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery, hand-ladles the curd after coagulation and monitors the very tricky business of aging this cheese with a delicate geotrichum rind. The beautifully dimpled rind imparts a mild, pleasant earthiness.
Trou du Cru
Pasteurized cow's milk
Created during the 1980s, Trou du Cru is like a miniature version of one of France’s renowned stinky cheeses, Époisses. Hailing from the same area of Burgundy as this famous washed rind, Trou du Cru’s proverbial bark is worse than its bite. The pungent, Creamsicle-colored rind (washed in Marc de Bourgogne, a local pomace brandy) encases a soft, unctuous paste with mild but full flavors of hay and damp earth. Like the Cremont, this cheese embodies the springtime, when warmer weather and fresh grasses bring animals back out to pasture.
Pays Basque, France
Pasteurized Sheep's Milk
A true celebration of the seasonality of traditional cheesemak- ing, Ossau-Iraty is crafted from the milk of herds of sheep that graze up and down the Pyrénées mountains. After the cheese is made it is aged about four months, meaning the late-season wheels are released just as spring starts to poke its warm and welcome head out. Ivory white with a mild, nutty sweetness, the interior is creamy on the palate and encased in a natural grayish-brown rind.