Saturday, February 13, 2010

Caspian from Jasper Hill Farm

You may have read my entry on Winnimere, probably my favorite all time cheese from Jasper Hill Farm a few days ago.  Imagine my surprise when the kind folks from the dairy retweeted and posted a link to my blog on facebook.  I was elated, overjoyed, and jumping up and down with excitement.  Of course, I immediately added them on twitter and FB, and as a result found out about their unveiling of a new cheese called Caspian.  I sent a text to a friend at work asking if we could get it in, and he responded that we already had it - four wheels of it in fact!  WIN!!!!

Caspian is closely modeled on a French cheese called Banon which is made from goat's milk and wrapped in vinegar and eau de vie soaked grape leaves.  Banon is made from raw milk and apparently gets pretty funky if allowed to age.  I have never had it, but I think I would like it based my love of stinky cheese and what I've read about it.  They have named their version of Banon for Lake Caspian which is near the dairy.  Like their other cheeses, it takes its name from local landmarks and/or historic events.

The folks at Jasper Hill have used pasteurized cow's milk instead of raw goat's milk to make Caspian and wrapped the cheese up in grape leaves that have been soaked in icewine!  The taste is every bit as good as you would expect.  The paste is creamy and buttery with some nice tangy grassy notes.  It might even remind you a little of exceptionally creamy goat's milk.  Then there is a sweet "grapey" finish, no doubt imparted by the icewine-soaked leaves.  I'd be really curious to see how it ages since it is practically scoopable just out of the package.  I was quite taken with it to say the least.

Caspian is yet another winner from Jasper Hill in my book, and I had excellent response from the guests that I served it to this evening.  I felt like I had such an inside exclusive too, which made it even more exciting for me to talk about.  Thanks to the folks at Jasper Hill for another great cheese, and I'll look forward to more fantastic things to come in the near future.

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