…”March winds, April showers, bring forth May flowers“. How sweet it is to be on the right end of this charming rhyme. Yes, the parade of crocus and hellebore; daffodil and tulip is poised to begin and our world will once again be blessed with the beauty and the miracle of flowers.
But did you know that flowers can, and do, play a significant role in the world of cheese?
As things green-up the dairy cows, sheep, and goats joyfully resume their grazing outdoors. Grass, herbs, and indeed many wildflowers, are enthusiastically consumed. This, in turn, yields a beautiful ‘floral’ note to the milk, which eventually presents itself in the cheese.
Take Comte for example. The winter version is of a more pale appearance, and earthy in note. The summer cheese, however, is a brighter yellow and holds a distinctly floral note.There is also the artisan hand that traditionally incorporates this by actually adding edible flowers to the curds which, of course, manifests in the cheese. In the Netherlands, the mauve colored Lavender Gouda is a prime example. Likewise, in Austria and Germany, a mix including violets and marigolds is rubbed on the outer rind of Tomme aux Fleurs to give a gorgeous outer bouquet. Salt Springs of British Columbia also dresses their fresh chevre with nasteriums – added last minute for the gorgeous aesthetic effect.
As summer approaches, I think of my picnic basket filled with cheese; a dreamy backdrop of herds grazing; picking wild daisies;… and enjoying the coming together of all of the above in the palm of ones hand. I hope you do too.