Nocturne: A Delicate Creamy Cheese

August 31, 2010

Nocturne is a delicate cheese that won a household of fans with its light flavor, beautiful appearance and creamy consistency.  This cow’s milk cheese is produced locally at Andante Dairy (Petaluma, CA) and deserves attention.

Nocturne is a small cheese with a flat pyramid format.  It has a bloomy white rind that is dusted with gray vegetable ash.  To the touch, the exterior is velvety and a bit moist.  The rind smells a bit like mushrooms or dirt.

Nocturne

It is hard not to think of pie when evaluating this cheese.  Nocturne collapses a bit under the knife and gently oozes like a fruit pie, yet its shape is retained by a more firm interior.  A gluey layer separates the rind from the cheese’s interior paste; once this leaks away, the crust-like rind stands on its own and reveals interior pockets between rind and paste.

Nocturne’s flavor is delicate.  There is some saltiness, a gentle tangy flavor and light sweetness from the rind.  Nocturne’s paste has a consistency similar to chevre–moist, dense, creamy, and easy to spread.

We all liked this cheese a lot and would definitely buy this cheese again.  Nocturne’s hand-crafted look and feel communicate the maker’s care and attention.  I am eager to try other cheeses Andante Dairy makes.

We shared this cheese with visiting family and no one was put off by the minor leakage Nocturne made on the cheese plate.  On our second night eating this cheese, we had little to no leakage on the plate, so perhaps Nocturne’s ooze occurs mainly after the first cut.

Notes on purchasing:  Nocturne is the type of cheese one should purchase whole.  It’s small shape can be carved into 8 servings; we ate our cheese over 2 nights and the cheese did not degrade much over 24 hours.  We purchased Nocturne pre-wrapped at Rainbow Grocery (San Francisco).  Andante Dairy also sells cheese at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market (San Francisco) on Saturdays.

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