Camellia: A Mild Goat Camembert

October 15, 2010

Camellia is a goat cheese that has the look-and-feel of Camembert. However, Camellia is so mild that it barely left an impression.

Camellia is produced by Redwood Hill Farm in Sonoma County, California. It is a soft bloomy rind goat cheese that is produced in a small, flat disc format. Redwood Hill Farm suggests that Camellia’s peak maturity is at 5-6 weeks.

Camellia

Camellia has a dry, white rind that smells of mushrooms. The interior is white with a yellowish cast. The interior paste has very little aroma.

Our sample of Camellia seemed fairly young and shy of its peak maturity. Our sample was soft and pliable, closer to a semi-soft paste. The rind was more of a firm crust than a thin skin.

Camellia’s flavor is similar to a mild Camembert. The flavor is salty and buttery at the start, with light mushroom. It leaves a mild after-taste of light mushroom. This cheese paste has a smooth texture, but the rind has a dry and grainy texture that detracts from the cheese.

Camellia’s mild flavor profile and benign aroma makes it an ideal cheese for kids. Both of our juvenile tasters liked this cheese, but only one thought it warranted a repeat purchase. The adult tasters also liked Camellia, but did not think this cheese compelling enough to repurchase.

Purchasing Notes: Camellia is sold as a whole 5 oz. cheese; its small format is ideal for 6-8 servings. We purchased our Camellia at 24th Street Cheese Co. (San Francisco), but I have also seen this cheese at local supermarkets.

It is possible that we tasted Camellia when it was too young and lacking its full potential. I have no idea how to tell when looking at the wrapped cheese if it is at peak maturation (the cheesemonger handed me the Camellia I purchased), however Redwood Hill Farm’s site says this point is reached when “the center is soft to the touch (like a ripe peach).”

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