Nicasio Square: A Tasty European Cheese from Marin
September 8, 2010
Nicasio Square is a local cheese that could easily make one forget its European cousins. This is a Taleggio-style cheese from California that is well-balanced and very satisfying. It has a similar style and format to Taleggio, but its aroma and flavors are less pronounced.
Nicasio Square is a pasteurized cow’s milk cheese produced by Nicasio Valley Cheese Company (Marin County, California). It is a washed-rind, semi-soft cheese that is made in a large, flat square format.
The rind of Nicasio Square is a pink melon orange, dusted with white surface molds. The paste is buttery yellow, with irregular small holes. Nicasio Square looks and feels spongy; it is squishy to the touch.
Nicasio Square is a pungent cheese, but not a room-filler like other washed-rind cheeses. The rind has a barnyard odor. The interior paste smells mainly like old socks, yet it also has a sweet aroma similar to honeycomb.
In the mouth, Nicasio Square has a creamy and slightly chewy texture. The cheese tastes tangy. It has a sour milk flavor and some saltiness that are both balanced by a fruity sourness similar to grapefruit. The sour flavors linger a bit on the tongue.
We all liked this cheese and would purchase it again without hesitation. Its has nice flavor and a wonderful texture. Nicasio Square would make an excellent picnic cheese, as it holds its shape well out of refrigeration. It has a texture that one can slice or spread thickly onto bread. At the end of our tasting, we were wrapping thicker slices of this cheese inside of bread. Nicasio Square with just bread and fruit would make a great simple lunch.
Notes on purchasing: We purchased our Nicasio Square at 24th Street Cheese Co. (San Francisco). Nicasio Square is the third cheese that we have tasted by Nicasio Valley Cheese Company (along with Black Mountain and Formagella), and we have liked all three cheeses.