Eating Cheese With A Fork: Contemplating the creamy, fart-smelling Cabra Raiano

In "Ulysses," James Joyce wrote: "A corpse is meat gone bad. Well and what's cheese? Corpse of milk." The key difference here is while the smell of death should set off flags when selecting meat, the stronger the odor of a milk corpse, all the more reason you should feast.

With that in mind, we returned to the venerable cheese section of The Wine Source and, after sampling just enough without annoying the cheese guy, we selected one of the fartiest-smelling cheeses (which, given his not-so-subliminal writing, Joyce probably would've been into as well), Cabra Raiano by Casa Lusa from central Portugal. This cheese is so creamy soft that the cheese guy wouldn't cut us anything less than a half round (a whole round is one pound—$25) because anything smaller would turn into a pool of goop stank (oh no, we have to buy more cheese?).

Like many central Portuguese cheeses, Cabra Raiano is made from raw goat's milk, but you wouldn't know it from looking at it, and you might even miss it in its taste if you don't pay attention. According to the highly trusted source of Google Translate, Cabra Raiano actually means "goat frontier." Similar to an extra-creamy taleggio, it's gooey, smooth, and bitter, unlike most goat cheeses, which are more solid, velvety, and sour. But the goatiness just barely comes across in the cheese's faint tartness. It spreads easily and melts slowly in your mouth.

This is a thinking cheese; enjoy it in silence, at a place where you can focus intensely on the complex flavors and fragrance, like a cemetery—an appropriate setting for one-on-one time with a corpse—until you realize you ate a quarter pound of queijo in 10 minutes, and the rest is smeared all over your face and in your hair.

Frankly, we could do without the rind: The peachy, delicate crust looks enticing, but for extra-soft cheeses like this, we prefer a fleshy rind (as in brie or the like) to this gravelly encasing. Still, the rind should not be a deterrent: It has the kind of pungent flavor that rises from your mouth up into your nose, and even to your limbs, if you're really feeling it. And ladies, it's so creamy and smooth that you can use it as a hand cream or even lip gloss—you might attract a super-sexy Leopold Bloom type. Two for one.

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