May 11, 2011
Moses Sleeper is unlike any American cheese we have sampled. It is lush, gooey, rustic and robust. This cheese–made in Vermont!–is the nearest we have sampled to a gooey Camembert. The adults gobbled up this cheese, but my kids rejected Moses Sleeper because of its green vegetable flavor.
Moses Sleeper is farmstead produced by Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro, Vermont. (Jasper Hill Farm makes two other cheeses we like: Constant Bliss and Winnimere). Moses Sleeper is a soft cow’s milk cheese with a bloomy rind. It is produced in a flat disc format, each cheese about 1.25-pounds. Moses Sleeper is aged at Jasper Hill’s cellar for 3-6 weeks before market.
Moses Sleeper–when whole–looks like a flat cheese pie. Its rustic appearance is similar to Reblochon, with bumpy surfaces and crimped edges. Its beige top is furrowed with soft lines and is tacky to the touch. Moses Sleeper’s interior paste is gooey and wet with flat holes.
Moses Sleeper has a strong aroma when held to the nose. It smells of yeast and cooked broccoli. The rind also has a light ammonia scent.
Moses Sleeper is robust and direct. Its initial flavors are sour milk and wilted green vegetables, however its also has flavors that are sweet and yeasty. There is an underlying leafy green bitterness that becomes more pronounced at its finish. Its rind cuts the paste’s bitterness and adds a light mushroom flavor, but it also adds some grittiness. Moses Sleeper leaves a long mildly bitter aftertaste that is reminiscent of a good stout beer.
Moses Sleeper split our tasters generationally: the adults enjoyed this cheese, while the kids were put off by the cheese’s bitter vegetable flavors. Moses Sleeper has a fresh from the farm immediacy that is direct and honest. During our tasting, I commented that Moses Sleeper tastes “alive,” much the way raw vegetables do when just picked from the garden. I really liked Moses Sleeper and will purchase it again to share with adults.
Moses Sleeper becomes soft and gooey when out of refrigeration but does not become runny.
Purchase Notes: We purchased Moses Sleeper from Say Cheese (San Francisco). We purchased half a whole cheese (8 oz.). Jasper Hill Farm’s cheese notes suggest that Moses Sleeper’s “brassica” flavors become more pronounced with maturation; we likely had a cheese that was more mature.
May 3, 2011
Bijou is an excellent cheese. One might snicker–as did my husband–at this goat cheese’s diminutive size. Yet what petite Bijou lacks in size, it makes up for in flavor. This American-made gem is one of the best goat cheeses we have tasted. It is very rewarding and should not be missed.
Bijou is a soft-to-semi-soft cheese produced by Vermont Butter & Cheese Co., in Vermont. Bijou is made from pasteurized goat’s milk and matures for approximately 2 weeks before market. Bijou is produced in a petite cylinder format. Vermont Butter & Cheese delivers Bijou pre-packaged in a 2-cheese “micro-cave” that promotes ripening.
Bijou is a tiny crottin-style cheese plug. Its deeply wrinkled rind has a buttery cream color. The interior paste has a milky white core that is dense like clay. The core is surrounded by a more translucent buttery paste that has a consistency similar to its core.
Bijou’s aroma is farmy: it smells of fresh cut grass, honeycomb, and barnyard.
Bijou is robust and goaty, with a texture that invites savoring. Its flavors are direct, tangy and lemony tart. It has a nice, underlying beeswax sweetness that balances its tart flavor. Bijou’s pasty texture coats the tongue with flavor and encourages slow eating.
We loved Bijou! It is one of the best goat cheeses we have tasted–American or French. Bijou’s punch of flavor and goaty aroma reminded us of good French goat cheese. Bijou is an excellent cheese and one that we look forward to sharing. Its intimate size makes it a good choice for a small gathering.
Bijou behaves beautifully out of refrigeration; we left our cheese out for over an hour and it did not degrade. Bijou is a cheese to linger over and savor. I would consider it for a picnic if carefully packaged.
Purchase Notes: We purchased Bijou at Cowgirl Creamery (San Francisco). The cheese is sold whole in a 2-oz. petite size. We purchased two cheeses in a “micro-cave” package for 4-5 servings.