Mountaineer: A Mountain Cheese from Virginia
January 8, 2011
Mountaineer is a cheese that says “autumn” with its cold weather flavors of toasted nuts, berries and Asian pears. It makes for a good snacking cheese and with a name like Mountaineer, it begs to be taken on a hike.
Mountaineer is a semi-soft-to-firm cheese produced by Meadow Creek Dairy of Virginia (which also make Grayson and Appalachian). It is made with raw cow’s milk and has a washed rind. It is aged for 6 months before market.
The interior cheese paste is a deep, golden yellow. Mountaineer has some small holes and fissures, but is otherwise smooth and solid.
For a washed rind cheese, Mountaineer is surprisingly sweet smelling. The rind and paste have an inviting aroma of toasted nuts.
Mountaineer has a lot of flavor, but the cheese comes across as relatively mild. Mountaineer’s flavors are fruity, tangy and nutty. Sweetness is added by a subtle blueberry flavor and a butterscotch flavor similar to a ripe Honsui Asian pear. Mountaineer ends tangy and firmly nutty, with the nuttiness lingering in the mouth after eating. It has a smooth and chewy texture.
None of our tasters was bowled over by Mountaineer but we all liked it and thought it a tasty cheese. It would not be my first choice for a snacking cheese, but I would consider it for a casual meal or day hike.
Purchase Notes: We purchased Mountaineer at Cowgirl Creamery (San Francisco). Mountaineer is produced seasonally by Meadow Creek Dairy; they report availability November-July.