Leonora: Goat Cheese with A Brash Rind

October 11, 2010

Leonora is a tart goat cheese with an over-bearing rind.  Without its rind, Leonora is a nice goat cheese with a lemon twist.  Its rind adds flavor to the cheese that we found over-whelming and unappealing.

Leonora is a soft goat’s milk cheese made in Leon, Spain.  It has a mold-ripened, bloomy rind that adds distinct character to the cheese.  It is produced in a fat cylindrical shape; the whole cheese looks more like a small loaf of bread than a cheese.

Leonora

Our sample of Leonora shows a cross-section slice of the whole cheese.  The rind and the interior paste of the cheese are both snowy white, with a layer of gooey translucent paste separating the two.  The paste has a delicate aroma like cottage cheese; the rind smells like juniper and minerals.

Leonora’s paste is pleasantly tart with an almost lemony flavor.  The paste has a dense creamy consistency similar to chevre; it is creamy, smooth and easy to spread.

The rind adds a lot of flavor to the paste.  The rind and translucent paste taste like raw wheat germ and herbal soap.  These flavors overwhelm the lemony tartness of the paste and become dominant.   A soapy gin flavor lasts on the tongue.

Without its rind, Leonora is a tart and clean goat cheese.  We would not mind eating this cheese again without the rind.  Yet, the rind is the most flavorful part of the cheese and gives Leonora character.  We wish we liked the rind better; during our tasting, we found it too over-bearing.

Purchasing Notes:  We purchased our Leonora at Cowgirl Creamery (San Francisco).  Leonora continues to ripen as it ages, with the paste just under the rind becoming more gooey.  My reference books on this cheese suggest that if the gooey part has reached a 1″ depth, the cheese is over-ripe.

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