By Joe Ulrich, Cheesemonger at The Market at Comcast Center
As fall approaches, our food and beverage tastes will be changing with the arrival of the new season. Included in these seasonal choices are the types of cheese that we consume. Instead of lighter options such as fresh goat’s milk cheeses for your summer tomatoes and beets, it’s now time for more hearty options. Autumn speaks to heartier foods, heartier beverages, and yes, heartier cheeses! Today’s star is a chameleon of sorts. It is a year-round cheese that adapts to all of the seasons quite well. Say hello to Bayley Hazen Blue from the Cellars at Jasper Hill in Greensboro, Vermont.
Bayley Hazen is a revolutionary take on the classic English Stilton Blues-namely Colston-Bassett. Named for a military supply road commissioned by George Washington during the Revolutionary War, Bayley Hazen is a raw cow’s milk blue with a semi-hard natural rind. Constant rotation in a specially-designed vault at Jasper Hill gives the seven pound Bayley Hazen wheel a unique cylindrical shape as it developes the rind as well.
The cylinder when cut yields a firm and evenly blue paste throughout. I really enjoy the initial aroma of this cheese when cut as it displays classic notes of black pepper and spice. Penicillium roqueforti is introduced and gives Bayley Hazen a bit of that pepper; it also allows the salty, grassy, sweet, and nutty flavors of the milk to shine through. The texture of Bayley Hazen’s paste is very creamy and fudge-like which allows for many different types of pairings.
The great balance between texture and flavor of Bayley Hazen makes it a fantastic blue cheese for pairing this fall! Bayley pairs well with red wines with a bit of tannin such as some Pinot Noir and Beaujolais; however, Port wines like Ruby and Tawny are the perfect sweet to Bayley’s salty. Fall beers namely toasty and chocolatety stouts and porters with roasty coffee and chocolate notes highlight Bayley’s chocolate fudge, hazelnut, and anise spice notes really well!
As for foods, I like to serve Bayley at our store to customers with Nocciolatta (think Nutella but much better) from Italy with toffee cashews or just the chocolate! Bayley really works well on a burger or in a salad of arugula with toasted nuts like walnuts and fruits like pears, dried cherries, and dried cranberries. Bayley Hazen Blue is available year-round at our stores; so, come on by and taste it. It will get you ready for fall! General Washington would approve this message!