Tasting Tuesday: Carr Valley Cheeses Part I: Single Milk Cheeses | culture: the word on cheese
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Tasting Tuesday: Carr Valley Cheeses Part I: Single Milk Cheeses

Carr Valley Cheese Wheel with logo

Each week we taste a sampling of cheeses in our Cambridge office and discuss their flavors, textures, and our general impressions of them. Yum!

Carr Valley’s Creama Kasa Cheese
Creama Kasa cheese on wood with slice cut from it
Lauren – This cheese is softer than I thought it would be, and melts in the mouth. Creama Kasa is very salty, even a bit yeasty, with a lingering, velvety texture. While I initially thought it was a bit one-note, second and third tastes revealed a developing complexity.
Becca – It smells just like yogurt! The texture is velvety, while chewing a sharp tang hits the side of your mouth. There are light notes of fresh cream, and a slightly bitter finish. It almost reminds me of cream cheese frosting!
Jesi – Has a pleasant creme fraiche fragrance and a mildly tangy flavor. The texture is soft, tender, and mouth-coating, though not as heavy as a double or triple creme.
Amy – I was surprised at how soft this cheese is. It’s got an almost spreadable texture. It smells like yogurt and cottage cheese and tastes tangy, like a sharp but young cheddar. It’s an easy-to-get-along-with flavor that makes me want to turn it into a cheese dip.
Kate E. – The smell is very quiet, with a little yogurty kick. The flavor seems to change depending on how much I’ve eaten. At the beginning it was sharp and a little sour, but as it goes on it gets almost grassy. The cheese is so smooth, I’m not sure if I should chew it or just let it melt in my mouth.

Final thought by Jesi:

This is a great snacking cheese, and I could happily eat an entire block of it.

Carr Valley’s Cave-Aged Cheddar
Carr Valley's Cave Aged Cheddar
Lauren – With a soft milkiness and mild earthy flavor, I think this cow’s milk cheese would be great paired with some sauteed mushrooms or in a vegetable gratin.
Becca – It smells light and cheddary, with a hint of yogurt. It tastes slightly musty, with a simple flavor profile that finishes bigger than it starts. This cheese has a great firm, but yielding texture.
Jesi – While this cheese gives off a strong aroma of smoked meat, the flavor is surprisingly understated. It’s much less salty and savory than I expect from a cheddar, especially one with such a formidable fragrance. The sections close to the rind are more flavorful, with a cave-y, almost musty taste.
Amy – The texture is like a pulled, aged cheese, similar to a Provolone. It smells a bit smokey, but none of us are sure if that’s from the cave or from its proximity to the Airco. The flavor is slightly musty, like a cave or attic. There’s not a lot of classic cheddar flavor, but there’s a little bit of sweetness and slate flavor in the finish.
Kate E. – So they tell you this was cave aged. They were serious. You can taste the mustiness. It doesn’t have the normal cheddar tang, and is much more subtle. The texture is perfect. A little waxy, but in the best of ways.

Final thought by Lauren:

This cheese tastes less like a typical cheddar to me, and more like a nicely aged butter.

Carr Valley’s Bandanged Billy
Carr Valley's Bandaged Billy cheese
Lauren – Gentle and mild, this is “goat cheese for beginners.” Very approachable with a milkiness almost reminiscent of mozzarella, this cheese would taste great paired with a stone fruit or fig jam, on some hearty crackers.
Becca – Smells of goat, cream, totally intriguing. I wanted to eat this right away! The firm texture and mild flavor give way to slight hints of goat and yogurt.
Jesi – For a goat cheese, this is quite mild and not very goaty at all. It has a nice, milky sweetness to it, but nothing that really makes my taste buds perk up. However, this would be a good choice to introduce to someone who is wary of goat cheese; it’s easy, approachable, and snackable.
Amy – The Bandanged Billy, despite its name, smells only mildly goaty. The texture is dense, but not dry or crumbly. The taste is very mild, almost like a mozzarella with very little salt. There’s not a lot of goat flavor here, just a mild yogurt tang at the end.
Kate E. – This is the goat cheese for those who are trying to break into the goat-cheese world. It is very gentle, with a hint of tangy-ness at the end of the bite.

Final thought by Becca:

A super snackable cheese!

Carr Valley’s Cave-Aged Marisa
Carr Valley's Cave Aged Marisa Cheese
Lauren – The Marisa has a really wonderful smell, which is about halfway between nutty and caramelly, and a subtle fruitiness that reminds me of wine. Firmer than the others from Carr Valley, and with some nice crystallization from aging, this would be great shaved over a bitter green salad. A gentle barnyard flavor lingers on the rind.
Becca – Smells toasty, of hay, with a slight hint of raspberry. The Marisa tastes of hay, with much bolder fruit notes than its initial smell it’s almost reminiscent of a wine or lambic. Musty, bold rind and a crumbly texture.
Jesi – Marisa starts off with a promising fragrance of toasted butter and nuts, and it follows through with a fruity, nutty, slightly sweet flavor that gets a little funkier as you get closer to the rind. The texture is smooth with little pockets of crunch, which makes this cheese totally addictive.
Amy – The texture is quite dry and crumbly. It smells very tangy, but when you taste it, it’s nicely mellow with a great aged flavor. I’d call it venerable. There’s lots of depth to the flavor and little bits of crystallization.
Kate E. – This cheese smells like fried butter, so I liked it right from the beginning. The taste is fruity and warm, filling your whole mouth. It’s both crumbly and wet. Pair this with some baked apples for any meal.

Final thought by Amy:

There’s a slight grape taste, very subtle, that makes me think this would pair well with a full-bodied red wine. I think it could also stand in for pecorino in a pinch and I’m tempted to use it in a bolognese sauce.

Carr Valley’s Chevre au Lait
Carr Valley Cheese's Chevre au Lait
Jesi – Smells like sweet cream and has a springy, almost stretchy consistency; the cheese bends a bit before it actually breaks. The flavor is very, very mild, unusually so for a goat cheese.
Amy – First off, this name is adorable (pronounced Chevrolet for those, like me, who need to hear it before you get it). This is a goat cheese for someone who thinks they don’t like goat cheese. It’s mild and inviting, with a pliable, almost pulled texture.
Amanda – Instantly reminded me of mozzarella or string cheese due to the texture. It’s hard to believe it is a goat cheese because the milky, light smell and taste brought to mind a dairy cow with a giant bell in a verdant pasture. A safe and mellow cheese.
Becca – Smell has a hint of goaty tang, along with creme fraiche and grass.

Final thought by Becca:

This cheese has a very light taste, almost reminiscent of fresh (goat) mozzarella.

Amy Scheuerman

Amy Scheuerman—culture's former web director—spent eight years in North Carolina where she developed a love of barbecue and biscuits before moving up north to get a degree in nutrition. She now works at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

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