Devil’s Gulch: Cheese with a Spicy Kick
January 28, 2011
Devil’s Gulch forced us out of our comfort zone. We have avoided Devil’s Gulch since its December release because it is flavored with red chili peppers. With my juvenile tasters, any food with a hint of spice is cause for drama. Yet, perhaps my kids would look beyond the peppers if the spice was married to a luscious cheese by Cowgirl Creamery. Well, this was my hope.
Devil’s Gulch is a soft cheese, produced from pasteurized cow’s milk by Cowgirl Creamery. It has a bloomy rind and a red pepper covered crown. It is produced in a compact cylindrical format and aged for 4 weeks before market. The dried red chili peppers are added after the cheese has matured.
Devil’s Gulch is a pretty, festive-looking cheese. Its cloud white rind is a beautiful foil for the fiery red and orange pepper flakes. To the touch, the rind is dry and velvety. The interior paste is buttery yellow with many holes. The cheese paste is spongy and slightly sticky to the touch.
The rind of Devil’s Gulch smells like button mushrooms, except for its pepper covered crown. Not surprisingly, the crown smells like crushed red pepper.
Overall, Devil’s Gulch is a mild cheese. The cheese paste has a sour citrus flavor, with a spicy paprika kick from the peppers. The chili peppers add a sweet and smokey flavor, similar to roasted red pepper rouille. After eating, a grapefruit sourness lingers on the tongue. Devil Gulch’s texture is rich and luxurious in the mouth.
Devil’s Gulch makes a fun party cheese. Its festive look creates visual interest. The cheese’s luscious texture is certain to have wide appeal and it holds up well out of refrigeration.
During our tasting, my kids ate around the chili peppers. They pronounced Devil’s Gulch delicious, yet they failed to embrace the cheese’s spicy intent. One asked me to purchase Devil’s Gulch again, but we’d be happier with Mt. Tam or Red Hawk.
Purchase Notes: Devil’s Gulch is a seasonal, winter cheese. We began to see it in December, just in time for the holidays. We purchased a whole cheese (about 9-oz.) from Cowgirl Creamery (San Francisco); it easily serves 8.