One of the cheeses of Christmas: the Chouleout, an experimental version of the Ouleout, from Vulto Creamery, with chocolate nibs from Cacao Prieto in Red Hook, Brooklyn, embedded in the rind. I have to admit I was a bit skeptical at first, given that “cheese with stuff on it” is often a recipe for mixed results, but in this case I was pleasantly surprised.
The man behind the Chouleout is urban cheesemaker extraordinaire Jos Vulto of Vulto Creamery. He’s actually no longer an urban cheesemaker per se —having built himself a cheesemaking facility in Walton, NY (in the Catskills, about 3 hours north of the city) — and now splits his time between Brooklyn and Walton, heading up there to make and age his cheeses and bringing them back to be distributed at a limited number of cheese counters in the city, as well as selling them himself at the farmer’s market at McGolrick Park in Greenpoint. He’s only been up and running in a licensed facility for less than a year and batches are still small, but already the reception has been excellent among cheesemakers and turophiles alike. You can learn more about Jos (and some other “urban cheesemakers”) in the post I wrote for Modern Farmer in July 2013. You can read about the Miranda, an absinthe-washed button of cheese, here.
The flavors have the trademarks of a great Taleggio: brothy, meaty, savory and earthy, with nutty and grassy notes and a bit of barnyard; the influence of the chocolate is subtle, and most noticeable on the finish. What you taste first is the paste, with perhaps a subtle earthiness; near the end however, I noticed distinct bursts of chocolate flavors. It’s kind of like pairing a cheese with a chocolate and in this case the pairing works really well.
Cacao Prieto was founded by Daniel Prieto Preston, an inventor and aerospace engineer, whose family has been farming organic cacao at Coralina Farms in the Dominican Republic for more than 100 years. All chocolates and chocolate products are organic and sustainably harvested. You can visit their factory store at 218 Conover Street in Red Hook, Brooklyn, NY.
Yep Brooklyn/the Catskills