Stepping in to the Bedford Cheese Shop off of Irving Place in Gramercy, one is immediately over[joyed/whelmed] at the expanse of cheese counter presiding in the back of the store. The wisest, oldest cheeses hang out above the counter, looking down with a benevolent, distanced crumble of a gaze. I asked to try something cabecou-esque, or something of tangy velvet and grassy citrus; the cheesemonger sent me on a course of 4 or 5 tastes ranging from Montgomery’s to Charmoix, where I eventually settled on the Cabri Café – a bold updo of the traditional Cabricharme (that has previously been ogled about here).
This raw goat’s milk cheese from Ardennes has a sharp, creamy nose and a wonderful, ivory pate. The twist here is that coffee grounds have been coated over the surface of the cheese, and the Cabri Café ~presents~ with a dark, richly textured rind contrast with the homogenous expanse of snow white that is the interior.
And as for savouring the cheese – one begins to understand all the complexity of the world predicated on the interplay between coffee-d rind, raw goat milk, and loving tender affinage. There are lofty notes of toastiness and savory legume, whisked along by a procession of fungal worcestshire and malty, fish-ed umami (think crispy mushrooms straddling rashers in a full English breakfast that got a LOT doused in the butter that melted off the side plate of kippers). The sweet acidity and savory caramel get physical when my palate sulci begin to tingle a little bit. All things said, Cabri Café serves up some complex realness, a euphonious amalgam of transient tastes anchored by respectfully treated milk solids and lactic gracefulness.