Wednesday, 28 April 2010

ewe must try this: runny cheese fun with torta cañarejal

torta canarejal 1

I've been eating 'funny' (as one of my grandmothers used to say) cheeses for very many years. My dad has always loved cheese and, way back when I was a wee thing, at the end of each week, instead of spending his wages at the pub, he used to seek out the best cheesemonger he could find. Armed with his parcels of cheesy goodness, he'd then stink out his fellow commuters on the train home. My, how they must have loved him, particularly in the dog days of summer. You have to bear in mind, too, that this was back in olden times when most folks were used to little more than plastic cheese, and Red Leicester represented the height of exotica. Looking back, I'm surprised MI5 weren't watching such a dangerous subversive.

Roll on a few decades and both his and my love of weird and wonderful cheeses happily endure. Lord knows how many I must have tried, eaten, and generally gorged on, but the figure must run into the many hundreds. I love them ALL. (Well, all except the fudgy Norwegian Gjetost, which - try as I might - I just can't get along with. It messes with my tastebuds and brain.)

But until a few days ago, there was one cheese that I'd not come across before. It was being pushed forward by my local deli, owned by two chaps who have a particular penchant for all things Spanish and Italian. And that's it, at the top of my post - torta cañarejal, a Spanish ewe's milk cheese.

So far, so cheesey. I asked about it. 'Slice the top off, dip things like crudites into it, and eat. You don't have to do anything to it - no baking, no nothing.'

Crikey. So that's one over on Vacherin, then, isn't it? No baking, even. Dippy cheese to go, no less. How very fab. Better give it a whirl, then.

And so we did.

Step 1. Slice the top off. This, I can do.

torta canarejal 2

Step 2. Have crudités prepared for dunking. This I can do, too. We have carrots, roasted cauliflower (in rapeseed oil), and baby potatoes slathered in butter and wild garlic. Oh, and some leafy green stuff to cancel out the cholesterol, natch.

torta canarejal 3

Step 3. Dunk. Easier said than done. This baby is VERY runny. In fact, a spoon is a good plan.

torta canarejal 4

Step 4. Repeat.

torta canarejal 5

Step 5. Repeat.

torta canarejal 6

Step 6. Repeat until fade.

torta canarejal 7

But the fun doesn't end there. Oh, no. Here's where there's another advantage over Vacherin - you can eat the outer, firmer layer and rind! That's if you have any room left. I didn't, but still went ahead anyway. Some things are just too good to pass up.

Torta cañarejal is not only good, it's a must if you're a cheese-lover. It's mellow but with a distinctive tang of sheep, slightly sweet (Ferran Adrià used to serve it with red fruits and honeyed meringues, apparently), and creamy. It has something of a Camembert about it, but is infinitely more interesting than that.

But, best of all, it's possibly the most edible fun you can have with a whole cheese. For 2 cheese lovers, it's the perfect tasty, simple, and sharing meal. Well, I say 'perfect'. Let's just say it's all fine and dandy until the level of the runny cheese starts getting low. At that point... well, it can become a bit of a no-holds-barred fight to the finish ;)

Do you love someone enough to give them the last scoop of runny cheese? Share one of these (or a Vacherin, if you must - though you'll find they've just gone out of season now) and you'll soon find out...

27 comments:

Niamh said...

OH, Helen! SWOOOON! Where can I get me some? I adore ewes cheeses -my favourite by far. I've got to try it.

Signe said...

Love it! I had this for the first time and it was AMAZING, such good gooey cheese. Lovely post :)

Catalan Cooking said...

I love that cheese. We had it at the class and it was very very popular. Beautiful photos to drool at.

Becci said...

I gotta get me some of that. It looks like heaven.

Choclette said...

Great post, great cheese - at least you make it sound great. I certainly want to try it!

Helen said...

Absolutely gorgeous - I mean - melted cheese. Incredibly, other half hates melted cheese so I would have to eat the whole thing myself. Shame. I would have to dunk bread in it. Healthy!

Helen said...

Oops, effed up my commenting there didn't I...

Kavey said...

We had some of this at Rachel's Catalan Cooking class and it was amazing, utterly fabulous.

MUST get my hands on more...

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

Oh wow! And I love your "ewe" pun!!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Niamh - I think Brindisa will be a good bet... ;)

Signe - thanks, Sig

Catalan Cooking - I'm not surprised it was very popular. What's not to love?

Becci - yes, yes, you have

Choclette - do!

Helen - best thing of all is that you don't have to do any melting...

Kavey - yes, you must!

Sarah - hee hee... ;)

Helen (Fuss Free Flavours) said...

Oh my that does look good.

There are very few things better than a non melted liquid cheese.

Jacqueline said...

Nom nom! I love it, must get my hands on some :)

meemalee said...

I'm not really a cheese person, but I really, really like Vacherin so I know I'll adore this :)

Love the gooey pictures!

pigglet said...

any idea where i can get some? i am in sussex.
it looks soo yummy

Foodycat said...

How gorgeous! I'm amazed that it is that runny at room temperature!

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Helen - couldn't agree more ;)

Jacqueline - yes, you must!

meemalee - if you love Vacherin, you'll love this

pigglet - a good cheesemonger should have it (if they don't - ask them to stock it!). If you don't have one near you, try http://www.brindisa.com/

Foodycat - quite a revelation, isn't it?

Margaret said...

Mmm you have sold me on this one. No baking and a runny cheese too, I will have to look out for this.

Katie said...

Should this cheese even be legal?! Definitely one to be rolled out for a cosy night in with my fella.

I tried Ewe's milk ice cream recently (well iced dessert but you can't call it that coz it hasn't got enough fat in it!) and it tasted super lush! I know it's not cheese, but have you tried it?

Helena Lee said...

What a fantastic step-by-step guide - reading this before breakfast is a baaad idea (awful pun - sorry!) x

Pam said...

Oh, there's nothing better than cheese! I love this and can only imagine how good it tastes!

George@CulinaryTravels said...

Oh my, I have got to get my hands on some of that. It sounds amazing.

Cynthia said...

I've never had any ewe cheeses :(

Heather said...

I can't get along with gjetost either. It wants to be chocolate.

Sophie said...

Waw!! What a superb & divine looking cheese!! Thanks for introducing it to me!!

I will thry this lovely cheese!

Lizzie said...

HOLY MOLY! That looks brilliant. Great pics.

Yelp Clone Script said...

Nice post. Great blog. Thanks for sharing.
Groupon Clone Script| groupon clone| Angry birds clone|

Esther Fuentes said...

Nice blog and amazing post!
I'm from Barcelona, and I'm so surprised that you know these cheese. I love cheese from everywhere, but I have to recognized I didn't know this one.
I try to find these cheese, as soon as possible!!!
If you love this kind of cheese try to taste "Torta del Casar"http://www.sierrademontanchez.es/producto_de_extremadura-212-hp_manjar_extremeno. It's one of the best creamy cheese of Spain. Kind regards,
Esther Fuentes