Lately Woolworth has sold some strange but interesting cheeses. I am not sure what drives the demand for these wonderful but rather exotic cheeses, but I am not complaining. Having the variety available is wonderful. I found an Etorki cheese, something I have never seen before.
Etorki is a cheese made in the French Basque country, in the Pyrenees Mountains. . This cheese is made from pasteurized milk from the native Manech ewes. This style of cheese has been made by shepherds in the Pyrenees for a very long time.
Last year I tried a Brebirousse d’Argental cheese, also made from sheep milk and found it delicious but very “sheepy”. I was expecting something in a similar vein, but this Etorki cheese was only mildly “sheepy”. Etorki Cheese can be substituted for Gouda or Cheddar when cooking with cheese.
Etorki has a rusty, bumpy rind because of the molds formed during pressing. It is a hard cheese and has a smooth, velvety texture and rich, earthy hazelnut flavour with hints of pepper. Its aroma is sweet and creamy. And it is delicious!
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Whisky & Etorki Cheese pairing
First up was the Singleton Tailfire whisky. The Tailfire has notes of caramel, candied fruit, cherries, marzipan, vanilla oak and wood. What an enjoyable pairing! The whisky spread the creamy butter all over your mouth and intensifies the fruitiness of the whisky. The whisky enriched the Etorki Cheese and made the earthy notes softer. I give this pairing a RATING: 4.5/5.
Glenfiddich Age of Discovery 19 yo Madeira Cask
I liked the 19 yo Madeira Cask, but have battled to find a cheese that pairs well with it. The Glenfiddich Age of Discovery is a complex whisky with notes raisin, fruit cake, citrus and oak. It also has cinnamon and pepper, and dry oak with hints of ginger. The 19 yo Madeira Cask pairing with the Etorki cheese was another winner. It made for a creamy dreamy combination that enhanced the fruity notes and broke down the cream. I give this pairing a RATING: 4/5.
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Kornog Single Malt whisky
I wanted to pair the Etorki cheese with some peat and chose the Kornog. Kornog is the peated expression of the Glann ar Mor distillery located on the Northern coast of Brittany, France. Our tasting notes from a previous tasting showed notes of strong smoke, peat and oak with an iodine finish. Paired with the Etorki, it made for an agreeable pairing. It softened the peat in the Kornog and brought more spice out in the cheese. I give this pairing a RATING: 3/5.
I tried this Etorki cheese with a Wemyss Gooseberry Marmalade and the Glendronach 16 yo. I gave those pairings a Rating 2.5/5. Not bad, but not as nice as the Singleton or the Glenfiddich. I was hoping the sweet notes in the whisky would enhance the earthy character of the cheese, but the whisky and the cheese just did not “mix”.
Have you tried Etorki cheese before? What whisky would you pair it with?