Per living the best life, I bought a lot of cheese last weekend during a trip to Philadelphia. Inside Reading Terminal Market at the Fair Farm Foodstand, I tried a smattering of Pennsylvania/Virginia cheeses and was duly impressed by the Birchrun Blue from Birchrun Hills Farm in Chester Springs, PA. This blue is a raw cow milk product with a natural rind, aged for ~3 months (at least when I had bought it). Because it isn’t foil covered or wrapped in any form of leaves, it develops a drier, milder rind and pate than other mold-treated cheeses – brings to mind other tomme-style cheeses with all their rugged exteriors. I also appreciated the mottling of the colors from crème anglaise to a bright creamy cloud white. Le voilà:
After letting my slice breathe ~adequately~ , I wafted an aroma procession of chocolate and fresh baked biscuits?? The doughy surprise smell was a treat, and my favorite thing about savoring cheese is when you can taste or detect flavors from decidedly non-cheese food products.
Anyway then I actually started the eating portion. The rind itself was nicely vegetal and bitter, verging on enjoyably chalky with toasty notes. Closer to the exterior of the cheese, the curds were a firm and more crumbly that the interior. Working my way into the center of the slice, the flavors became sweeter and milder – vanilla, cream, hint of ammonia. At this point, I was thinking that I could have confused this with a young bloomy rind cheese for the mildness and texture. Aerating the cheese with big slurpy breaths, I savored a salted, brothy flavor that had previously gone undetected. I think that the Birchrun had a little more structure and firmness than I usually prefer in a blue, but truly a *quaffable* , intriguing natural blue in any case. Would eat again very enthusiastically and with gusto!