After a few years of research and recipe noodling the Aged Chelsea from Zingerman's Creamery is back, ready for its close-up.
This time it's robed in a fine layer of ash. Made in the same style as the famous French goat cheese St. Maure, the five-inch logs are rolled in ash when they're four days old, then set to age for at least another week. They're best when aged between two to six weeks.
The ash decreases the acidity on the surface of the cheese and works in concert with the natural molds and yeasts to develop flavor. Chemistry nuts and cheesemakers love these kind of details, but what matters to the rest of us is flavor and this has lots of it. Buttery, brightly acidic yet surprisingly sweet, its texture is smooth with a faint crumble.
Great on a cheese plate, served with crusty bread, scattered over a salad or even broiled over meat.