Estero Gold: California Casual
April 25, 2011
Estero Gold is a cheese with charms so subtle, they can be easily missed. During our tasting, we found Estero Gold’s flavors pleasant, yet too laid back to command our attention. Estero Gold’s casualness is part of its charm, but it does not make a compelling cheese.
Estero Gold is a firm cheese, farmstead produced locally by Valley Ford Cheese Co. in Valley Ford, California. It is made from raw cow’s milk and is inspired by Swiss Italian cheeses. Estero Gold is aged for approximately 4 months before market.
Estero Gold has a rich spun-gold appearance. The interior paste is deep golden yellow flecked with small holes. Estero Gold has a natural golden rind that shows impressions and folds from what appears to be a cloth wrap. Both the rind and paste are smooth and solid to the touch.
Estero Gold has a delicious aroma of melted butter and cheese.
Estero Gold has subtle flavors that are relatively mild and reminiscent of melted Asiago. It begins with a buttery rich flavor and finishes with a light nuttiness. The nuttiness has a little prickliness to it that may cause a tingling sensation in the mouth. It has a little milky sourness, but this flavor is not pronounced. Estero Gold has a firm chewy texture and leaves a long mildy nutty after-taste.
We thought Estero Gold a pleasant cheese, but its flavors were too subtle to hold our attention. My juvenile tasters found Estero Gold too acidic in the mouth; both complained of “mouth prickles.” While Estero Gold did not have strong enough flavor to make it a compelling snacker, we thought it would make a good melting cheese (Valley Ford Cheese Co. suggests Estero Gold is good for this purpose).
Purchase Notes: We purchased Estero Gold at Cowgirl Creamery (San Francisco).