Cheese of The Week is a weekly feature on The Daily Meal, drawing on the expertise of internationally renowned cheese expert and consultant Raymond Hook. What follows is based on an interview with Hook.
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Arabella is a washed-rind cheese made by the husband-and-wife duo of Leslie Jacobs and Matthew Brichford, who run Jacobs and Brichford Cheese in Connersville, Ind. It’s inspired by the classic Italian cheese Taleggio, the gem of the Northern Italian grassland. It’s a raw-milk cheese that comes in a rectangular brick, has a rind ranging from cream to light-brown-colored, is aged for one or two months, and if you’re into earthy, barnyard-forward cheeses, this is one worth seeking out.
"This cheese is pungent, earthy, mushroomy, and extremely well-crafted," according to Hook. "The rind is slightly sticky, and it has a great texture." He also advises leaving the cheese out at room temperature for an hour before eating to let all the flavors open up.
The paste itself is buttery and dense, ideal for spreading onto a baguette or a sandwich (or if you’re feeling particularly fiendish, a burger). It oozes out as it melts, and is salty, slightly fruity, and has a mellow aftertaste.
Hook recommends pairing it with an equally earthy wine, such as a chianti or san giovese. He also has a word of warning for those who go down the Arabella road: "A little of this cheese goes a long way. You’d be surprised by how much of this you can eat in one sitting!"