Tasting Tuesday: Carr Valley Cheeses Part III Blues and Flavored Cheeses | culture: the word on cheese
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Tasting Tuesday: Carr Valley Cheeses Part III Blues and Flavored 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!

Glacier Gorgonzola
Carr Valley's Glacier Gorgonzola
Jesi – The sweet blue cheese fragrance suggests that a bright, tangy flavor is coming, and while the attack was just that, the flavor quickly broadened and became quite buttery. The cheese doesn’t have a lot of bluing, so you really only get the tang when you bite into a bit of mold.
Amanda – Crumbly with a lovely smell. A slight nutty aftertaste. Not as strong as other gorgonzolas but still familiar.
Becca – Smells lightly molded, briny, and grassy. It has the typical firm, yet crumbly texture of a blue, but it doesn’t coat the mouth like some blues can. There’s a super bite at the finish, and it tastes of seaweed and grass.
Amy – I was ready to love this cheese since I’m a big fan of most Gorgonzola. However, it left me wanting more blue. The texture was delightfully creamy and the blue was good where you could find it. This is probably a good blue introduction for folks who want to try a blue cheese, but are worried they won’t like it.

Final thought by Amanda:

This would be great paired with tomato soup.

Glacier Penta Crema
Carr Valley Glacier Penta Crema
Jesi – We could tell right off the bat that this cheese was going to be incredibly soft and creamy, as it barely held up to the knife. Like the Gorgonzola, this one is lightly blued, and it takes a moment for the tanginess of the mold to come through the rich, milky taste you get on the first bite.
Amanda – With so little blue to mellow the paste, it was so sharp and tart that it made my eyes flutter. The texture is so delicate that it falls apart in my fingers.
Becca – Smells sweet and slightly ocean-y. Notes of fresh cream are firmly present. Eating this cheese is similar to biting into a stick of salty, funky butter!
Amy – I loved this cheese. It’s got a nice balance of blue to salt, a great, slightly briny flavor, and plenty of earthy mustiness from the mold. I’d take this home and eat slice after slice of it smeared onto crackers.

Final thought by Becca:

This is a blue everyone can love.

Ba Ba Blue
Carr Valley's Ba Ba Blue
Amanda – Although this cheese made some of us cough and sputter, I liked the strong salty taste that tingled in my throat. The cheese is creamy but has a nice firm texture.
Becca – Smells of sour cream, and sheep. The taste is extremely salty, earthy, with bold blue flavors. It’s like taking a big gulp of seawater!
Amy – The first bite of this cheese shocked me. When struggling to explain the flavor I said that it reminded me of a sheep that had been dunked in the ocean. At first I wasn’t sure I liked it, but then I went back for a second, third, and fourth bite. At the end of the tasting the other blues had leftovers to be wrapped up…the Ba Ba Blue was nothing but a few crumbles.
Jesi – When I eat blue cheese, I like bold, extra-tangy flavors, and this cheese certainly delivered that. With a super-tart aroma and a bold, spicy, prickly flavor, this formidable cheese should definitely be saved for last; the flavor lingers with you long after the cheese is gone.

Final thought by Amy:

It reminded me of a sheep that had been dunked in the ocean!

Sweet Vanilla Cordona
Carr Valley's Vanilla Cardona
Becca – Smells exactly like vanilla yogurt. The taste is surprisingly more tame than the smell, but the same flavors still exist. The vanilla is less present than I expected, which I was happy about since I’m not a huge vanilla fan.
Amy – I was amazed at how mellow this cheese was. The smell was enticingly vanilla, but the flavor was mild. It reminded me of a tangy vanilla yogurt.
Jesi – As a big vanilla lover, I was very, very excited to try this cheese. It’s beautiful to look at, as the rind appears to have been brushed with vanilla bean seeds. The vanilla flavor was surprisingly muted, however, almost as if the Chevre au lait had been dipped ever-so-lightly in vanilla yogurt.
Amanda – The vanilla smell is very faint. It tastes somewhat like vanilla Greek yogurt, however, overall any semblance of vanilla and cheese flavor is mild.

Final thought by Jesi:

It smells like fresh milk with just a hint of vanilla sweetness.

Carr Valley’s Airco
Carr Valley's Airco
Lauren – Is someone cooking bacon in here? Airco’s warm and enveloping applewood-smoked rind might make you think so. With and intense earthy, mushroomy quality, along with some developing sweetness, this was my favorite of the day. We imagined this would taste fantastic paired with anything from pickled onions and pumpernickel, to granny smith apples.
Becca – Smells of smoke and meat, just like a freshly cooked slab of bacon. The taste is super meaty, with less smoke than I anticipated. The rind however, is straight-up smoke, like standing in the gust of a bonfire.
Jesi – Airco is intensely meaty and smoky with a luscious semi-soft texture and creamy mouthfeel. If you close your eyes and munch on the rind, you might actually believe for a moment that you’re eating a slice of bacon, since the meatiness is especially concentrated there. While I could easily down an entire wedge of this without so much as a cracker, it would be out-of-control delicious in a grilled cheese, with or without any extra trimmings.
Amy – Sooo smokey smelling! It’s very soft, and I bet it would make a great melting cheese. It tastes meaty and smokey and altogether delicious, but it isn’t too salty. Making this into a burger or grilled cheese is on everyone’s mind. The rind in intense! It’s like breathing in a bonfire.
Kate E.Before even tasting, I already know that this has to be paired with a burger. It tastes like you’re eating bacon, except it’s cheese, so I feel like it’s already a great thing. The taste is pretty milky and sweet (aside from the applewood flavor of course).

Final thought by Jesi:

One whiff of this cheese conjures up images of thick-sliced, sizzling bacon.

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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