From California’s award-winning Tomales Farmstead Creamery, the firm, aged goat’s milk Assa is a rustic and earthy delight. Goaty on the nose—with hints of minerals, yogurt, and wine—this tawny wheel hits the palate with bright notes evoking berries and cream. Towards the rind, flavors grow earthier with hints of roasted cashews.
Assa’s complex flavor is owed to its aging process: Aged from six to nine months, the wheels are routinely washed in a solution of cultures and brine, giving the cheese a pungent aroma and a smooth, stony rind. As a final touch, they’re bathed in chardonnay from nearby Balletto Vineyards. Inside, Assa stays flaky and dense.
With its strong flavor, Assa pairs well with fruits; pears and Fuji apples make ideal crisp counterparts. For something more substantial, amp up the cheese’s nutty notes with brown butter and walnuts in this pasta. And of course, Assa and chardonnay are a match made in heaven.