Cantal, Auvergne, France
Cheese buyer Mike Clark has announced that the Near West Side Store will soon have delicious Cantal cheese. Named for the Cantal mountains in the Auvergne region in which it was first created and perfected, Cantal is a semi-hard cow's milk cheese, typically aged for several months. The form is massive, and the cheese has a soft interior. Authentic Cantal is a winter cheese, made from November through April while the Salers cattle are fed on hay (in the summer, the milk from the pasture-fed cows is used to produce Salers cheese). The taste of a young Canal is somewhat sweet, clean, and simple, while an aged and ripened speciman will reflect much greater vigour and complexity. Much loved in the Cantal region, Cantal vieux is usually found in America only in specialist stores.
If you can find one, drink a red St.Pourcain with your Cantal. This wine's evolution in the same neighborhood, out of the same soils, over the course of many centuries renders it a natural partner; otherwise, try a nice Cotes du Rhone.