Tasting Notes: Ancient Heritage Opal Creek and Valentine

Oregon Ancient Heritage Dairy Oregon's Ancient Heritage Dairy is introducing a new cheese to their repertoire called Opal Creek (pictured on the left). I'm excited because it's a washed rind cheese and we don't see very many cheeses of this style in Oregon. Kathy Obringer's Opal Creek is smooth and not too stinky, but still plenty meaty for washed rind appreciators. I know it's an oxymoron but it strikes me as simply complex - rich, earthy and tart flavors all at once, then a mellow and satisfying finish. This raw milk cow and sheep's milk blend is aged about three months.

Valentine (pictured on the right) is a sheep's milk cheese; Kathy's soft ripened cheeses have just the right amount of lemony, salty and mushroomy notes which make them completely addictive to me. What's remarkable about Valentine right now is the grassiness which permeates the aroma and the flavor, a great example of seasonal terroir. Also look for Adelle, Valentine's sister cheese made with a combination of cow and sheep's milk.

Ancient Heritage cheeses are widely available in the Portland area; you can also find them at the downtown Portland Farmer's Market on Saturdays.