Rich from Scardello, our city’s resident caseophile, sends word that his cheese has been highjacked. Listen in on his tale of woe and console him by checking out a few cheeses that made it to the shop on Oak Lawn in Dallas.
The Salers cow in the picture is not happy with the FDA, and neither am I. Is it bad to say that about a department of your government? If it is I don’t care. They have my cheese and they aren’t going to let it go. They’re only doing it to protect us, but lately they have been overly protective. Queso in point – my cheese.
The best thing I tasted at the winter Fancy Food Show was a piece of Rodolphe’s Salers. This incredible hard cow’s milk cheese was so packed with complexity and incredible flavor. (His 3 year old Mimolette was not far behind in the amazing category.) I liked the Salers so much I ordered a 50 pound wheel and didn’t ask how much it was going to cost. I didn’t care what it cost, it was THAT good!
Enter the FDA (stage right). First they put a hold on the cheese. Three weeks later I got the news from my importer, “The cheese has moved from ‘hold’ to ‘detained’ status. We can’t believe it. We’re told we have the option to re-export the cheese, have it destroyed, or send to the lab for further analysis, which is basically the same as destroying it.” I was certainly not happy. This isn’t about a questionably legal soft cheese, it’s about a well-aged piece of French culinary history that as of this morning fell well within the FDA import guidelines. Its hard to not think of their practices as arbitrary.
I’ve heard the FDA is getting crazy about cheese mites, which is why the Mimolette didn’t make it either. Cheese mites are the size of dust and inhabit the rinds on some harder, aged cheeses. In the case of Mimolette, they aren’t inhibited in the aging room, because they give the cheese it’s signature pock marks and some say their enzymes contribute to the sweet flavor of the cheese. A cheese-maker told me that if you build a cheese cave, the mites will come. Any clothbound cheddar with age on it will likely have seen a few mites. So what’s the deal? Will we ever see Mimoltte again? Did I taste that amazing Salers for the last time? Hopefully not!
Thankfully we did get some amazing new cheeses this week!Brazos Valley Cheddar – Clothbound and grassy from Waco Buck Hill Sunrise – Bloomy from a Lazy Lady in Vermont Aged Goat Wheel – Coach Farms latest – Humboldt Fog without the ash and one of the cleanest finish of any goat cheese I have tasted! Fiacco di Capra – Goat Taleggio from Italy Tomme de Rabelais – Large fromat Tomme de Savoie from Rodolphe Stracciatella – The inside of Buratta Bufala Mozzarella – The REAL deal Cusie allla Fruitta e Grappa – Covered in fruit soaked in what some call lighter fluid Cornish Blue – Ireland’s answer to Stilton Ziege Zacke Blue – Collaboration between Roelli and Laclare – Goat/Cow Cheddar Blue – How’s that for crazy! Scardello Artisan Cheese | 3511 Oak Lawn Avenue, Dallas | 214.219.1300