It’s that time again—this week’s Friday Fromage, a weekly look at some new cheeses. Last week, I sampled Amadeus, an Austrian cow’s milk cheese. This week, I stuck with a cheese that’s made a little closer to home.
Meet Devil’s Gulch from Cowgirl Creamery. It’s one of the Bay Area cheesemaker’s seasonal creations, only available in markets during the winter. (Look for St. Pat—a semi-firm cow’s milk cheese wrapped in stinging nettles—to take its place when spring rolls around.)
Devil’s Gulch is made with cow’s milk, with its bloomy rind lightly dusted with a blend of sweet and spicy dried red pepper flakes from All Star Organics farm. (And fun fact—the name refers to a narrow ravine that runs along the base of Mount Barnaby, just down the road from All Star Organics.)
This pasteurized cheese is aged for four weeks, developing a creamy, almost buttery flavor accented with lightly sweet, spicy and smoky notes from the chile flakes. I got a pretty strong bite of heat at first, but it quickly mellowed. I’d say it was a more refined take on the classic pepper Jack cheese. The red pepper flakes also gave the cheese a lovely appearance—studded with red, orange and yellow, it’ll definitely stand out on a cheese platter.
I kept the pairing simple because of the spicy notes in the cheese—I just paired it with crostini. But I’d imagine this cheese being great in a sandwich, bringing a little more complex notes and rich, creamy texture.
Look for Devil’s Gulch at Cowgirl Creamery’s shop in San Francisco’s Ferry Building—or try Whole Foods if you’re itching for a fix without trekking up to the city.