Brazos Valley Eden Cheese: Fig Leaf Temptation
Although Brazos Valley Cheese has been winning awards and doing their thing for about seven years now, it's only recently that I've had a chance to cut into one of their delicious creations- in this case, the oozing, creamy wheel of love called Eden. It's its own little garden of unassuming bliss- fig leaf included.
First place winner of the 2011 ACS brie-style category, Eden is a raw cow's milk cheese that comes from Waco, Texas. Marc Kuehl and Rebeccah Durkin make this gem in the Brazos de Dios Community, a 1,000-person community devoted to traditional agricultural and crafts along the Brazos River (I've got much to learn about this place and love to learn more if anyone would like to share). They've got seven cheeses to their name, and all I've tried have been amazing.
Eden is a raw cow's milk cheese (all Brazos are raw) made in a brie style. Wrapped in a fig leaf, Eden is soft-ripening, has a bloomy rind, and as it ages, it turns into a delectable pool of creaminess. See that bit off darkness amidst the creaminess above? That's an ash vein. When making Eden, the chesemakers layer the curds with a thin layer of ash. Why they choose ash for this one I'm not sure, but ash has been traditionally used in cheeses like Morbier to separate the night and morning curds, and in cheeses like Goat's Leap Eclipse to alter acidity and help a wheel ripen. Not to mention it just looks smashing in a photo.
Just salty enough. Buttery like fresh spring butter. A light beefy savoriness that melds with the sweetness of Eden's high-qaulity milk. Rich as Scrooge McDuck. Fig leaf adds a bit of green flavor to the mix, and yes, eat the rind (rind = more Eden to enjoy). Pairs well with Sauvignon Blancs, lightly oaked Chardonnay, and swimmingly with Champagne.
Have you had a chance to enjoy this or other Brazos beauty? What are your favorite leaf-wrapped cheeses?