Cheese of the day is: Mouco ColoRouge cheese. Dawn had asked me if I’d heard of it weeks before–“Moocow?” I thought. Well, it turned out to be a great little cheese (I’m not implying I love every single cheese I come across, but I tend to write reviews of the ones in the shop I like best!)
Country of Origin: United States (Fort Collins, Colorado)
Milk: Jersey and Holstein cow
Type: washed rind
Age: 2 weeks
Another beautiful cheesemaking story! The Mouco Cheese Company is run by husband and wife team Birgit Halbreiter and Robert Poland. Although the Mrs. is from Germany, they met while both working at the New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado. The two began making cheeses at home, but made their first commercial sale on June 6, 2001. Since Ms. Halbreiter’s father, Franz Halbreiter, is a German cheesemaker, he helped the couple develop their cheesemaking. Indeed, he continues to make the journey to Colorado every year to consult with Mouco.
All of Mouco’s cheeses are made from a blend of Jersey and Holstein cows’ milk taken from the morning milking. Before any cheese is made, the milk is tested to ensure that the milk is free of antibiotics. If the milk passes this test, then it is pasteurized. Ensuite, rennet (undoubtedly a secret formula!) is added, which allows the milk to curdle. The curds are cut, the proper amount of whey is drained, the curds and whey are formed, and then aged. Magic, yes?
One interesting aspect of Mouco is its continuing effort to become increasingly green. For instance, it constantly seeks to reduce the amount of utilities, packaging material, shipping material, and waste (in the way of cheese). Packaging materials are recyclable. To reduce shipping materials, the company encourages its customers to return them for reuse. Unsold cheese is donated to local food banks.
Another fun part of Mouco is that they put some music playlists online so you can see what music is part of the cheesemaking process.
Colorouge comes to the store in small 5 oz. rounds carefully wrapped in special cheese wrapping paper imported from France. Peeling back the wrapping reveals a 3-inch round washed-rind, soft-ripened cheese. Actually, it is not so much washed as “smeared,” that is, regularly rubbed by hand so that its characteristic bright orange color develops. The natural rind is splotched with white, and you can see the marks from the racks on which the cheese sits during affinage. This thin rind envelopes the cream-colored, creamy, slightly shiny paste. Colorouge’s aroma is quite mild, but with a distinct pastoral perfume.
The flavor is well-worth the effort it may take to find this cheese. Colorouge is a rather mild cheese with pastoral undertones. Its mouthfeel is buttery, creamy, and smooth, and gives a creamy finish. If you are patient enough to let the cheese heat up to warm temperature (which you should do for all your cheeses anyway), you will be in for a creamy, buttery treat–especially with the specimens in the store now. They are quite ripe NOW, and ready for the cheese plate.