I’m always on the hunt for how to preserve my cheese a little bit longer. How can I enhance its flavor while prolonging its shelf life? How do I keep the cheese alive while keeping my culinary spirit in high form?
After an extensive week of testing the Cheese Grotto’s capacity to store the freshest, most high moisture goat cheese at the cheese counter, I found myself with nearly 10 pounds of goat cheese on my hands. It was time to get creative. First, I formed the goat cheese in cheese molds so that they were the shape of a tall disc. If you don’t have a cheese mold, you can most definitely shape the cheese with your hands. At slightly cooler than room temperature, cheese is malleable like clay. After shaping the cheese, I let the little gems firm up in the refrigerator over night.
The next morning, I was ready to build my leaf wrapping station. After lightly blanching kale and cabbage leaves to the point where they wouldn’t break, I cut away any large stems centers that would cause difficulty during the encasing process.
I filled a shallow pan with white wine (any will do, but I prefer pinot gris or sauvignon blanc), and then I began to dip one leaf into the wine, removing it quickly, placing a goat disc in the center, and wrapping the whole thing up like a package.
The leaves encase the cheese well, and no extra twine is necessary for maintaining the cheese leaf cocoon. But you can get as fancy or rustic as you like.
I placed my newly wrapped cheeses back in the grotto, let them absorb the wine from the leaf, and let the texture of the cheese slightly alter over two weeks.
The cheese was more earthy and more fruity than it had been as a solid piece of fresh goat cheese. It was now a housewarming gift to be presented to a dear friend. It was something that I handled with care and had crafted into the cheese it had become. For a moment, I felt like I was back on the Alsatian goat farm where I had interned, and not huddled away in my Brooklyn apartment with grandiose dreams of rural life.