It’s about three in the afternoon, and Rich Rogers, owner of Scardello Artisan Cheese, has just cut into a smallish wheel of what appears to the untrained eye to be a soft, brie-like cheese. Judging by the grin on Rogers’ face, though, this is something special.
Every staff member tastes the cheese. The reactions range from positive ravings to grimaces. “That’s the thistle rennet,” Rogers says to someone who comments on the strength of the cheese. He’s a fan of it.
“This is sort of the Granddaddy of sheep’s milk cheeses,” he says of the Torta del Casar he just had everyone taste. “Before I opened the shop, this was one of the cheeses I sought out and looked for – I’d read about it and heard about it, but I’d never had the chance to taste it, despite having heard a lot of my cheese heroes talk about what a fantastic cheese it was. It packs this massive amount of flavor [and] doesn’t hold anything back.”