The Cheesemonger: Bloomsday

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Name: Bloomsday
Producer: Cato Corner (Colchester, Connecticut)
Milk: Raw Cow
Age: 6 months
Price: $17.99/lb

No matter how good a cheese shop is, I find nothing compares to the experience of buying the cheese directly from the maker. Not only does it give you a chance to sample the more unique or seasonal cheeses not carried at the retail shops, but you have that connection with the producer, matching a real person with the cheese.

After a tip from a customer that Cato Corner had a special, once-a-year cheese available at the New York Greenmarket, I had to try it. Released on June 16th and named after the holiday inspired by James Joyce's Ulysses, Bloomsday is the cheese equivilent of seeing your favorite European rock band, who never tours, on their solo U.S. Date.

Texturally, Bloomsday is very similar to another popular Cato Corner cheese, Bridget's Abbey; very soft, smooth and bouncy, but the taste is more intense. Instead of the buttery flavors of Bridget's Abbey, it is very nutty, sweet, slightly salty and leaves a pleasant mild earthy aftertaste.

Bloomsday is also an excellent sandwich cheese, even inspiring Sisha Ortuzar of 'wichcraft to write an excellent recipe using it, , though one could easily skip all the additional ingredients in the article and simply serve it grilled on some equally artisanal bread for a simple, but delicious lunch. For once, I wouldn't recommend a beer with it, but a glass of South African Pinot Noir would be an excellent match.

This cheese is only available through Cato Corner directly. You can view their Greenmarket schedule here. I encourage you to pick it up quickly, before it's gone. For those not in the New York area, check out your local farmer's markets and see what treasures you can find.