If you haven't already figured it out by this point, we are not totally unbiased cheesemongers. We have our favorites. We're generally more attracted to soft, creamy, and smelly cheeses than harder, waxier varieties. Of course, we'll experiment with hard cheeses for science, but we tend toward messy cheeses that we can play with. The first cheese we reviewed was a New York triple cream and today, we decided to revisit one of our favorite cheese types, this time a firmer triple cream from California that we picked up at Atwater's at Belvedere Square Market.
Mt. Tam is the most popular cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, an award-winning company based near San Francisco that started in the '90s making fresh cheeses such as cottage cheese and fromage blanc, but soon turned to aged varieties. Named after Mount Tamalpais, Mt Tam was its foray into soft-ripened cheese, and, remarkably, it's perhaps the creamery's best.
But this shit ain't cheap; it only comes in whole round and we paid $17 for a palm-size wheel weighing nearly 10 ounces. That's enough cheese to keep most people happy for a while; for us, maybe a week. But how can we resist cheese that looks like an adorable baby cake?
This cheese is really not far from butter: Beneath the bloomy ivory rind, it's almost indistinguishable. Mt. Tam is a mild triple cream, one to please anyone who isn't afraid of a little decadence. It's simple in flavor but rich in its silky texture, and slightly firmer at the core—a crowd pleaser. Like a solid '90s pop record that's still clinging to the ears of today's youth, there's nothing particularly striking about it, but it just feels so good that it stays with you nonetheless.
Yes, you could just bite into a stick of butter and it'd be a lot cheaper, but people would judge you for that, apparently. And that's not to say this mild cheese has nothing to offer in flavor: The delicate, mushroom-y notes and subtle saltiness make for an easygoing, versatile comfort food. Snack on it by itself, melt it over tart fruit, bake it, pair it with sparkling wine, buy several and build a cheese tower, take it on a road trip, spoon it in bed, sing to it, get matching tattoos, fight with it, and ultimately fall in love again every time you take it out of the fridge.