Wednesday, June 18, 2014

miti cana de oveja

I'll get a photo when I do a larger multi-cheese post, but I wanted to post about Miti Cana de Oveja, a Spanish cheese from Lorenzo Abellan. This is a fantastic cheese.

This week I made my annual birthday-celebratory shopping trip to Wegmans, returning with about a dozen different cheeses, most of them new to me (in addition to fresh wild halibut, flounder, grey sole, and monkfish; dry-aged steaks; MezzoMix soda from Germany; Kinder chocolates; Hartmann hot dogs; and Vegemite). We tried three of the cheeses last night - all three were fantastic, and all three will be blogged about.

But Cana de Oveja (I see it written without the "Miti" more than with, when I googled for information about the cheesemaker) is something of a Holy Grail cheese for me. For a long time, I've wanted to find "a sheep cheese that's like a goat cheese," meaning a young soft sheep's milk cheese that was like the sheep's milk equivalent of chevre. It's surprisingly hard to find, and I don't know enough about making cheese from sheep's milk to guess why. Sometimes traditions are just traditions - you probably could make mozzarella from goat's milk instead of cow's or water buffalo's, for instance, but you don't because those aren't the farmers who first made it.

Anyway, this is my cheese. This is the cheese I've been looking for! It looks exactly like a bucheron - a bloomy-rinded log with a thin brie-like layer surrounding the chalky white core - and it is so, so good. It's tangy, it's milky, and above all, it's sheepy. "Sheepiness" is a milder thing that "goatiness," but it's its own thing too - it's not "goaty, but less so," it's sheepy, and that's exactly why I've been searching for a cheese like this.

Instant favorite. Probably the best non-American young cheese I've had. I'm looking forward to trying it with some fruit or honey. Caitlin liked the richer, less tangy Castelbelbo, a mixed-milk from Italy, more than this, so perhaps I'll construct our cheese plates accordingly in order to sneak the lion's share of this stuff for myself.

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