This past week I made my way to Ten: One Artisan Cheese, located at 515 S. Locust St. in Denton. To my knowledge, this is the first of it’s kind in our little town. Owner and operator Justin Bonard has created a very inviting space that is home to some of the most outstanding cheeses that this reviewer has ever tasted. Don’t worry if you have never heard of most of the cheeses in his display case. In fact, I recommend that you open your mind to the cheese adventure that is about to sweep you away. Not only will the the on staff Cheese Mongers guide you to a cheese you will love, they will also point out undiscovered cheeses that will exhilarate your palate. If that’s not enough, they are now offering classes to expand your cheese IQ.
I was lucky enough to score one of the very limited tickets to the last event, and I was extremely impressed. The class was led by Benjamin Matt, an exceptionally knowledgable monger. He provided six selections and paired them with very digestible chunks of information. I would highly recommend you drop by for a midweek self-guided cheese party or sign up for one of the upcoming classes. Life is truly better with cheese.
Below you will find my notes from the the class.
Cheeses were: Taleggio, Scamorza, Brie de Nangis, Der Scharfe Maxx, Flory’s Truckle, and Beemster X.O. Gouda.
Brie is the oldest style cheese and is generally cave aged. It appeared first in the seventeen hundreds in France. The cheese appeared to be developed around the same time as Camembert, which may be the reason for their similarities. For this tasting, we were served the Brie de Nangis, which was cave aged for at least 60 days, and tended toward the softer gooey side of cheeses. Flavors were mild and buttery. Ben explained that Brie’s have a wide variation in taste and texture of rinds. However, the rind can add another layer of complexity to the cheese. This cheese pairs well with nuts and raisins.
Scamorza is a south Italian cheese that is a cousin of other stretched curd cheeses like mozzarella. However scamorza is drier and is sometimes smoked. The curd is matured in its own whey for several hours, which gives birth to more acidity and tanginess. In the finally phases, the scamorza is stretched into filaments, dried and then adulterated with smoke. The type of smoke varies from fruitwoods to hay. The version that we tasted had been smoked with hay. It reminiscent of the smell of a freshly lit camp fire.
Taleggio cheese is grown in the mountain areas of Northern Italy. It was first produced in the 19th century and has a rind that is but by washing the cheese with Italian sea water. Taleggio is aged for less than 2 months. It’s a soft almost gooey cheese with a beautiful orange/brown rind. It is a fully bodied cheese with nutty flavors that are also rich and meaty. The finish is somewhat long and tangy. Best served with a fresh baguette.
Flory’s Truckle is produced from Jersey cow’s milk. It is a type of cheddar and was aged 9-12 months. It is important to note that cheddar is a process for making cheese. However it has become synonymous with this style of cheese. Cheddaring refers to the process by which curd and Whey are separated. The curd is placed in specifically engineered type sieve and the components leak into a false bottom. Pressing of the moisture gets out of the moisture quicker. The quicker the process the less curd breakage and crystallization occurs. Cheddar is often dryer than other styles of cheese and tends to become tangier as the sugars are turned to lactic acid. it is also important to note that the crystallization of cheese tends to take place over longer aging periods. As it crystalizes you get chunkier cheeses that tend to fracture along natural fault lines found in the cheeses structure.
The Flory’s Truckle has very limited production. The herd from this Iowa based farm has less than 70 cows. This cheese has a long and storied history. More specifically, Mennonites began making this cheese generations ago. They dry it in cheesecloth and then cover with lard to minimize penetration of mold. It gets its name from the cylindrical mold that is used to house it, which is called a Truckle.
Scharfe Maxx is a Swiss semi-soft cheese with a washed rind from the canton of Thurgau. The process of making Alpine style cheeses includes cooking and melting of the cheese curd. More aggressive bacteria is generally used and tends to make bigger holes in cheese. The process tends to produce nuttier and earthier cheeses. The most well known Alpine cheese is Gruyere. Both France and Switzerland claim to be the original makers. This was one of my favorite of the cheeses, and it would pair well with autumn fruits or if used as a base for fondue.
Beemster XO is a Gouda from Holland that has been aged for 26 months. They cook the curds at high temperatures in order to caramelize the milk sugars. The browning of the sugars produce a great level of flavor complexity. The process of cooking and aging also makes it much harder for yeast to digest the sugars. The result is a beautifully crystalized cheese with big bold flavors could stand up to any beefy cabernet. This cheese could also be easily paired with olives, figs, spicy honey roasted nuts or honeycomb.
Fun Facts From Ben:
Soft ripened cheeses don’t do well in thick molds. It gets overly Gooey and goes bad quickly.
Active mold cultures can only penetrate the cheese 1/16th inch at a time.
Mozzarella is actually Mongolian in origin.
Cheese ripens from the outside in.
It’s the mold spores that turns brie to goo.
Hard cheese can last as long as a month.
The smell of a cheese can be an indication that it is no longer good to eat. For example, if the cheese begins to smell like ammonia it is likely way past its prime. It can be resurrected if left out to dry, but you are better off getting a fresher piece.