Is there such a thing as too much cheese?

November 21, 2008 at 12:17 pm (Cheesewhizzes, Napa Valley) (, , , , , , )

This last week has been filled with Cheese!  Goat Cheese, Cow Cheese, Cheese from Italy, Cheese from France, Washed-rind, Bloomy-rind, cheese made 5 miles from my house in St. Helena.

Why so much cheese?  A lot of fun cheese stuff going on…and no will power to say NO!  I have never refused a good piece of cheese!

First night was at Oxbow Market.  Barbara and Rex Bachus who have been making cheese on their property in Napa Valley since 1972.  What makes their cheese so special is the fact that it is made from La Mancha goats that feed on the hillsides right on their property.  Lucky for me we got to taste four types of their famed Goat’s Leap Cheese:
1.  Dafne – named after the Greek bay leaves (daphni) that adorn the top of the wheel during aging.
2.  Kiku – Aged in a fresh fig leaf that is doused in Sauvignon Blanc.  Seasonal and only made in small amounts.
3.  Eclipse – The wheel is crowned with a whole star anise.  Mid-way through the barrel the cheese is slashed with ash…which is an ancient method of preservation.
4.  Carmela – Comes in a 5# wheel, and is the most aged.  Very, VERY rare!

The next night was a cheese class through the Napa Valley Extended Education program that was taught by John Raymond, the famous Cheesemonger.  John has been all over the world studying the production of cheese, aging methods, and migration patterns through the rise and fall of civilizations.  Needless to say – he is a Cheese Expert.  During the course of the three hour class we tasted through 20-25 cheeses, and learned the difference between things like a “washed rind” or “bloomy rind”; fresh versus aged; milk type characteristics.  There was so much information divulged, I actually stopped taking notes toward the end and just listened…I had a cramp in my hand from writing too much!  Hands aren’t in writing shape, but definitely in typing shape.



Two nights later, Helen Jane and I hosted another Cheesewhizzes.  The theme was cheese from the good ole USA, the location was Acme Wine Co., the results…a huge success!  One of My favorite cheeses from the table was the Franklins Teleme by Mid Coast Cheese Company.  It was brought by Jessica Pecota who purchased it at the Napa Valley Olive Oil store.  I will definitely be purchasing this to share with family and friends.  Helen and I went in on a whole wheel of Sally Jackson Goat Cheese from Washington.  That stuff is pure hedonism.

And to keep with tradition after the Cheesewhizzes event we took the leftover cheese to Malcom’s and made the famous Mac and Cheese.  What is fun about making Mac and Cheese after every Cheesewhizzes is that each Mac and Cheese turns out different because the cheeses always come from different areas or themes.

So no cheese for me right now.  Taking a HUGE break!



  1. ltm98441 said,

    If you are looking for a great French goat cheese, I would suggest Valencay ashed or plain. Tha ash does not impart any flavor or grittiness to the cheese, actually it hepls to clean the palate. By the way, there is never TOO much cheese.

    • girlinthevalley said,

      Thanks for the recommendation. I definitley will have to try this great goat cheese (I do love me some goat)!

  2. ltm98441 said,

    Did you get a chance to try the Valencay goat cheese yet? It really should not be too hard to find, it has a pyramid shape that has the point cut off. If I may make another suggestion, try a Dutch Goat Gouda made by Henri Willig called Poldar Gold. There are two types of Poldar Goat Gouda available “white” and “gold” always search for the GOLD version because it has much more flavor and aroma.
    Also there is a great fresh goat cheese called Petit Billy it is bone white and has a very mild flavor, not too goaty. It melts well and can be spread on warm crusty bread.

    Enjoy the new year,

    Lester from New Jersey

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