Pungent and earty, it affronts the nose and let’s you know that when it comes to cheese you’re in No Man's Land now.
However, the temerity of this cheese belies its soft demeanor, a tough front outside protecting a more sensitive personality. What appears to be the rough cheese, vicious and biting, is truly a sheep in wolf's clothing.
Such is Cowgirl Creamery's new cheese, Devil's Gulch. It's definitely a twisted cheese, one that's vibrant in its newness but relies on the producer's classic methods - those seen in their Pierce Pt. and St. Pat - to deliver a delightful new artisan product. The milk comes from Jersey cows and the end cheese is crusted in roasted spicy pepper flakes which mellow them out. The result it a potent and appealing bloomy rind.
The inside of the cheese had two strata: its mantle is soft and squishy surrounding a thick core one might consider to be clotted cream’s crazy aunt with too much make-up and who always takes another slice of cake.
Crisp, sharp apples like Gala or even Granny Smith might be called for in order to ensure you don’t suddenly cream-keel over. Indeed, minutes after my first tasting I was buried in the fridge taking a big swig of pomegranate juice to temper the taste of the cheese. Not only will fruit help balance the cheese, but the pairing will let the flavors of the milk really reveal themselves.
Rich or not, a few hours later I went back for more. That feel good cheese seemed to beckon me for another taste. I took a small wedge, crumpled from the pressure of the knife against the giving softness, and placed in on a wide slice of pear, and let the rind tingle my lips.