We just chocked up another successful Saturday “workshop” at Tucker’s Farm (thanks Kearsley and Sarah!), producing three beauties from 20 gallons of raw goats milk – “Queijo da Ilha” – which simply means “Island Cheese” in Portuguese – (not that I know a lick of Portuguese, other than a few choice schoolboy swears).
I’ve read this is the local name given to Azorean cheese which isn’t strictly Sao Jorge – and seeing how we’ve modified the Sao Jorge recipe a fair bit and seeing how we too are an island – well, it seems a most appropriate name.
It’s hard to describe the depth of satisfaction derived from making this cheese – no doubt like any romance it may lose its lustre at some point, but for now I’ll just enjoy being in the moment.
Something about the immediacy of a rennet curd and the robust nature of the work – the big molds and homemade weights – the anticipation of a great tasting cheese! (yes we do still live in hope!) – watching the rind develop over time, its patina of mellow browns and benevolent mold splotches – (check out the cheeses on the shelf below, a few weeks older and rubbed down with coconut oil dontcha know!)
Sure the lactic curd even at 2x a week is always a challenge – the fussy little pyramids still mystifying and mercurial – but changing gears to the rennet curd every now and then – it’s just like a hitting that long downhill on a countryside bike ride – ya sit back, relax and feel the wind on your face.