I saw this cheese used in Becasse’s book, it was served with a beetroot terrine and some baby tarragon and looked amazing. It’s basically a goat’s cheese that’s been left to form a white mould before being rolled in ash. As it ripens, it’s supposed to get more pronounced in flavor, whilst losing the acidity. The cheesemaker in question, is Woodside Cheese Wrights, based in Adelaide Hills, SA. Edith’s Ash just so happens to be their flagship cheese, named after a Frenchwoman cheesemaker who inspired it.

The first thing you notice about the cheese is that it stinks. In a good way, I think. It’s powerful, pungent and goaty, very mildly ammonia-like if my constantly blocked nose is to be believed. The next thing, is the beautiful exterior, which reminds me of chargrilled steak that’s been etched with the griddle edges. Only, the cheese is marked with ash, providing brilliant contrast with the pure white rind.

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I break open the little round (it’s only 3 inches wide), and inside, was the most quaintly pearlescent cheese. It was soft and broke easily, the inside creamy but not mature. This was a young cheese, most obviously indicated by the expiry date, which had almost 2 months to run. As it ages, the ash changes the pH of the rind. I presume it makes it more alkaline, reducing the acidity of the cheese but allowing it to develop in flavor. The interior changes as well, with the centre forming into a ball, with a runnier, moist lining between that and the rind.

I bite into the tiny clump I broke off. Ooh, its sharp and pretty complex. But it’s not like a chevre, where the goatiness is really prevalent. In the Edith, its much more a background thing. Despite the fact that there are no blue veins in there, it tastes like it could have some almost. Which is weird and interestng. The aftertaste is sweetish and its then you get more of the goat. I’m itching to find out what this baby tastes like mature. Because I really loved the flavor but hated the sharp, tartness which seemed to blind it almost.

Round 2 with Edith’s Ash will commence when I see one on sale a week prior to its expiry date.

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