We’ve brought back four of our best selling cheeses! Whether you’re a long-time cheese lover or a newbie to the scene, we think these four cheeses are each unique and equally lovable. They’re all sourced by Essex Street Cheese, located right here in NYC. Essex focuses on importing just a handful of iconic cheeses, working directly with cheesemakers and agers to ensure consistently flavorful wheels, shipped out with minimal time in the warehouse before they arrive onto our beautiful marble. Here we have broken down each one and why we love them so.
Brabander Goat Gouda
Made from the pasteurized milk of Saanen goats in the Brabant region of southern Holland, the cheese is set in large wheels, wrapped in wax, and then taken to famed affineur Betty Koster at Fromagerie L’Amuse to be aged for six to nine months. Betty and the opleggers at L’Amuse are known for aging cheeses at warmer than normal temperatures, something that is risky in the cheese world, however, Koster seems to always get it right. Essex sources wheels directly from L’Amuse and brings them here to New York, and not long after, to our counter.
Traditionally, when we think of goudas we think of rich, hard-pressed cow’s cheeses bursting with flavor crystals—until now. Goat milk gouda is the perfect combination of the things we love about hard goat cheeses, like the creamy and earthy flavor, and everything we love in a gouda, like the caramel finish. The ultimate perk of goat cheese is that it is lower in lactose, making it easier to digest for our dairy-sensitive friends.
We love Brabander because it combines the best of both worlds of goat cheese and gouda, but we also love its fudge texture. It pairs beautifully with a spicy, fruity beer such as a Berliner Weisse.
L’Amuse 2 Year Signature Gouda
This pasteurized cow’s milk gouda is born at the Cono cheese making plant in Northern Holland, where wheels are hand-selected and sent to Betty Koster at Fromagerie L’Amuse (just like Brabander!). The wheels are then aged for two years in Koster’s preferred warmer environment. This gouda is the perfect example of positive effects from this aging process…resulting in deep and complex butterscotch, hazelnut, and bourbon flavors.
The L’Amuse 2-Year is a favorite amongst our staff, and many of our mongers start with it when sampling out tastings to customers that are unsure of what cheese is right for them. The 2-Year is almost always a winner. We love it because of its flavor packed crystals and butterscotch flavor. Pair it with your favorite porter, stout, or bourbon.
Manchego 1605 is a hard cheese made from unpasteurized sheep’s milk. This particular Manchego is a farmstead cheese, meaning the sheep live on site, from the Finca Sierra de la Solana ranch in Spain. There are less than 10 cheesemakers in Spain making PDO Manchego with a natural rind, like the one we get from Essex. “PDO” is the Spanish government’s seal of authenticity, meaning this Manchego is the real deal.
José Luis Martin has been a cheesemaker for twenty years and he visits the ranch to select wheels of Manchego exclusively for Essex, focusing on finding batches with a sweetness. Manchego 1605 from Essex doesn’t have the same spice that other manchegos possess. Instead, it has notes of juicy pineapple and crusty bread.
We love it partly because of the process…the lambs listen to classic mariachi music from the time they are born to the time they go to graze, giving this cheese that taste of tradition and love. We also love it because of its juicy sweetness and pairing capabilities.
We believe this is the greatest comte there is. Unlike most comtes available in America, this one isn’t selected based on price or how long it is aged. Instead, wheels are chosen based on flavor.
Comte comes from Montbéliarde cows and is rubbed in a dry salt, giving it a more savory and subtle flavor than a gruyere. Jason Hinds and Dominic Coyte travel to Fort St. Antoine every six weeks to visit Marcel Petit’s caves and to taste with the Chef du Cave, Claude Querry. Looking for aromas of hazelnuts and cooked onions, with flavors that are fruity and creamy, and considering how long those flavors will last in the cheese’s journey to America, they carefully select the wheels to bring back to Essex.
We love this comte because while many others import from Marcel Petit and Fort St. Antoine, no other importers go to taste the cheeses, let alone every six weeks. Because of this, we are confident we are always getting the best.
According to Essex, “This is a cheese for eaters, it has you always reaching for more.”
We are excited to have these old friends back on our marble and we hope you are too! These cheeses and more can be purchased through our online menu for local pickup and delivery on Wednesdays-Sundays.