May’s installment of the Cheese of the Month Club from Penn Mac featured cheese from Holland. One of these we recognized right away: the Vlaskaas was one of the free-range cheeses we’d sampled back in January!
If you’ve been reading since January, you may recall that the Vlaskaas is the flax harvest cheese. Now made year round, it’s a creamy, medium-bodied cow cheese with a sort of smoky nuttiness to it. It was a natural pair with the saltier dips and the meats, and a great match-up for a fruity dry red wine.
The Parrano was an interesting cheese: it was like something between a Parmesan cheese and gouda. It was kind of crumbly, with a sharpness to it, and a saltiness. (Later in the month, I grated this in a recipe that called for fresh Parmesan, and it was a good swap!)
The Beemster extra-aged was suuuper creamy, yet somehow still sharp. I had made some crispy shallots and teriyaki Brussels sprouts the night before, so I served these alongside the cheese plate. Their best match was with the Beemster.
We threw a fifth cheese into the mix, as we’d gotten some Schof Kase from River View Dairy in our CSA. This is a sheep’s cheese similar to a pecorino Romano cheese. It was creamy and salty, and a great match for the jelly and honey on our board.
All in all, we were quite impressed with the versatility of these cheeses to be creamy with sweetness, and yet have that salty or sharp character to them. (No offense to the English cheeses, but it was nice to be back to cheese that tasted like, well, cheese!)