Cheese Appreciation Class


I attended Shoko-san’s Cheese Appreciation Class at Providore with a few friends today.  The last class was in November so it’s been a while.  The theme this time was “Enjoy rich tasting cheese”.  I’m not very found of creamy cheese so I wasn’t expecting to like many of the cheese today but I enjoyed all.  I have had 2 of them many times but the rest were new to me.








Today’s wine was this one with a cute sheep label called “Pecorino”.  The colour is straw colour, smelled of fruits and flowers first then the acidity lingered.






* ペライユ(Perail)
* スーマントラン(Soumaintran)
* アボンダンス(A.O.P) (Abondance)
* オッチェリ・クルティン(Occelli Crutin)
* トルタ・デル・カサール(D.O.P) Torta del Casar
* ロックフォール(A.O.P) Roquefort

The cheeses we leared about were:

  • Perail
  • Soumaintran
  • Abondance (A.O.P)
  • Occelli Crutin
  • Torta del Casar (D.O.P)
  • Roquefort (A.O.P)



The first cheese Perail is a soft cheese made with ewes milk originating in the Region of Aveyron, France.  It used to be made with left-over mil after Rockfort was made and hasn’t been known widely until recently.  It’s matured for a week or longer, when young it’s creamy and as it is matured it becomes very soft before getting drier.  The season is from February or March until October.

The one we had today was quite young, about 2 weeks after being made, so it was mild.  I was expecting it to be too creamy for me but it was very enjoyable.






The 2nd one was Soumaintran, produced between Burgundy and Champagne, made with cow’s milk.  It is washed rind type so the same group as Epoisse but it’s washed with brine thus relatively mild.  It goes with  bread like croissant or brioche, (which is baked with lots of butter) we had it with croissant (smaller size croissant than Providore sells).  Although it’s relatively mild, you can still tell it’s washed rind type, sweet and creamy.









The 3rd one was Abondance.  I’ve learned this cheese in this class sometime ago, liked it so much and has bough it many times.  I don’t usually like hard cheese and semi hard cheese but this doesn’t taste like most hard / semi hard cheeses.  It is produced in a commune called Abondance, made from the Abondance cows and has nutty flavour.  The teacher included this not because this is rich in flavour but because of the name, which means “abandance”.  It goes well with cured ham, grapes, Japanese sake or shochu.  It’s also good melted – on boiled potatoes for example.  Today, they served it melted on sandwiches with tomato and avocado as fillings.









The 4th one was Occelli Crutin from Italy made from mixture of cow’s and goat milk.  It’s matured hang with a string like this photo originally to avoid rats.  It looks like soft cheese but actually hard crumbly cheese, which has a lot of freckles of black truffles so has strong truffle aroma.  I should have taken a photo of inside after cutting it.






The 5th one was Torta del Casar, which is said to be “the most expensive Spanish cheese” made from sheep milk near Portugal, thus is strongly effected by Portugal.  It is vegetarian because unlike most cheese Cardoon flowers (a wild thistle) is used as a coagulan, which adds unique bitterness.  It is first covered with a lace band then placed in a wooden box for maturing.  It has runny texture like Mont ‘Dor so local people use spoons to eat it.  I was a little worried about the bitterness but it didn’t bother me, I loved the flavour.  It does have quite strong flavour so isn’t to everyone’s taste, though.  The teacher told us that it is for advanced or expert cheese eaters.


I enjoyed all the cheeses today but this one was my favourite, so I must like strong cheese.







The last one was Roquefort, which I imagine most people know if they have some interest in cheeses.  It’s made from ewes milk and one of the 3 major blue cheeses as well as Gorgonzola and Stilton. Roquefort is a sheep milk cheese from Auvergne in the south of France.  Only those cheeses aged in the natural Combalou caves of Roquefort-sur-Soulzonn is called Roquefort, the temperature is 9C, the humidity 95% all year around in the caves.  Although I tend to love blue cheese in general, I’m not a big fan of Roquefort because I’m not found of the stinging sensation it gives and also I find it too salty to my taste.  However, that could well be because I haven’t had a chance to have it in good conditions.  I know from my experience that Stilton in Hong Kong and Singapore tastes very different from Stilton I have had in England.  Roquefort I had today was much nicer than what I’ve had a few times before, it was more nutty and more enjoyable.  I still prefer Stilton and Gorgonzola, though.

We had it with honey, banana & nuts.  Some sweetness seems to tame strong blue cheese such as this.





It was another fun and delicious class, I particularly loved the fact that I learned many new cheeses.  My friends and I had a lot of chat after the class over tea/juice until late afternoon, it was a fun day.








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