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Pantaleo

 

Pantaleo

© Wedge in the Round

 

Cheese: Pantaleo (pahn-tuh-LAY-oh)

Where: Sardinia, Italy

Milk Type: Goat, pasteurized

Texture: hard, crumbly

Rind: natural

Shape: 6lb wheel

Flavor: mildly fruity, pleasantly floral/herbaceous, a bit of lemon and a lingering tang

Pantaleo is a little deceiver… 

…mild yet lingering flavor.

…a citrus tang that isn’t exactly lemon but isn’t exactly… any one fruit.

…a goat cheese from the land of sheep.

…a goat cheese with decidedly little goatiness… at first. Ten minutes later if anything lingers of the flavor, it’s just a bit of keyhole-eyed mischief.

Sardinian_goat

© Ed O’Keeffe

If anything, it rather more plays at being a sheep’s milk cheese like those of its homeland. Despite being aged more than 100 days, it’s dusty crumbles speak to you more like a fresher, younger beauty. With age comes beauty.

Pantaleo is not the easiest to find, thankfully I didn’t have to wait to get to Sardinia.

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=sardinia&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Sardinia,+Italy&gl=us&t=m&z=7&vpsrc=0&ll=40.120875,9.012893&output=embed

I had been wanting to try it and was pleased that Surdyk’s had it available.

It was placed in just the right order, second on our Christmas 2011 cheese board coming after a very mild (understatement) Cheshire I’ll write about later. Try Pantaleo paired with a Mediterranean mic of roasted vegetables, olive oils and other rustic touches. Would be an interesting alternative to grating Pecorino.

What to drink with it: This one demands acidic whites, sometimes not attractive on their own, the acidity of which sparkles against an acidic cheese. We paired all the cheeses this holiday with a Jos. Joh. Prüm Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spätlese 2004 whose ample acidity came to life with the cheese without outpacing it. Sticking with the region, look for a Sardinian Vermentino, a late-harvest ancient grape also with good acidity.

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