For Washie Wednesday, you lovers of funk, we’ve got this meaty stinker: Cato Corner Hooligan, an ultra-ripe washed rind. What starts as grassy, vegetal semi-soft cheese becomes more assertive and accentuated as it ages. The resulting wheel is not for those with sensitive noses, but it will surely please fans of complexity. Hooligan’s interior is plump, with a high moisture content when the cheese is young, and tends to become softer just under the rind, giving way to gooey goodness.
The mother-and-son cheesemaking team at Connecticut’s Cato Corner use raw milk from the farm’s own Jersey cows to make these small-batch wheels. For that alluring funk, Hooligan undergoes a 60-75 day aging period, during which wheels are bathed twice a week in a brine solution. Washing encourages the growth of that pungent bright orange rind via surface-ripening bacterias and yeasts.
For an irresistible cheese toast, melt a wedge onto cranberry walnut bread—the pop of tartness and texture will provide nice balance. On a cheese plate, go for some sweetness; serve with hot pepper jelly, honey, and caramelized pecans. To sip, try a sweet white or Belgian-style ale.