2012 American Cheese Month 31 Cheeses in 31 Days: Day Three: Hook’s Blue Paradise
Cheese: Hook’s Paradise Blue WINNER: 2nd Place, American Cheese Society
Who: Tony & Julie Hook, Hook’s Cheese Company
Where: Mineral Point, Wisconsin
Milk Type: cow, double cream
Texture: semi-soft & crumbly
Flavor: creamy paste with a barnyard tone that quickly gives in to a pungent, sharp blue with… at least to my occasionally odd palate, the slightest taste of under-ripe peach and black pepper.
Tony & Julie have been making cheese in Mineral Point* since the 1980’s and bringing in awards almost as long. Blue Paradise is one of five blues they make and this year took second at the ACS.
Blue Paradise is medium strong, pungent and sharp at first but mellowing quickly. The underlying flavors of barn/farmyard and earth hang around for some time. It’s snackable, eaten plain, is a quick and oozy melter, good for burgers and cooking.
*On Mineral Point: If you are ever in the area, seek it out and spend a day/night. Originally a 19th century Welsh mining village, now they do art crawls once a month in the summer, weekend markets and history tours; this cute little town is a wonderful retreat. It’s near Spring Green and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesen.