I was at Whole Foods the other day with my wife, and while she was buying the food we actually needed for the week, I was hanging out at the cheese counter. (I always say support your local cheese monger, but if you’re in a grocery store with time to kill, the cheese section is better than anywhere else!) While there I spotted this tiny little tube-like cheese called Cimonino Semistagionato Valsassina. I’d never had it. It was cheap. I was hungry. I think you see where this is going.
The Cimonino comes in a cylindrical shape, pretty small, and is a cow’s milk cheese with a moldy rind. It’s quite soft, and to me, slightly reminiscent of a Gorgonzola. Now, I am a salt nut, so salty doesn’t bother me–but let me warn you, this is an extraordinarily salty cheese. It’s balanced with a slight sweetness when it first hits your tongue, but then, wham! Piquant. That’s the polite way of saying it’s got some bite. It’s a peppery, almost astringent, taste, but without the citrus notes you would usually expect with a tart cheese.
I enjoyed it quite a bit, and I think it would go really well with a big, in your face red wine. If you like piquant cheeses, or if you like moldy cheese in general, give it a shot. It’s pretty inexpensive and would make a nice addition to a cheese plate or paired with wine.