Ouleout and Endive

Vulto Creamery OuleoutI’ve been meaning to tell you about my new favorite way to eat stinky cheese. With endive. Each leaf is a perfect cheese canoe. Here, I am using Belgian endive leaves to portage Ouleout, my latest beefy dreamboat. I’ve added a sprig of dill and a sprinkling of walnuts for freshness and crunch. Glorious. Forget your crackers, your bread, your gluten-free rice cakes. Plant worshipers, come hither. I believe endive will save us all.

A member of the chicory family, Belgian endive is a bitter green. It’s easy to find at the grocery and the perfect size for picnicking or packing as a snack. Before I run off to work, I like to lob a wee head of endive into my tote, along with a hunk of beefy cheese and a handful of nuts. Then, when I’m hungry, I relish peeling off each slender leaf and preparing a desk lunch of endive boats.

Ouleout and Endive with Walnut and Dill

Vulto Creamery’s Ouleout is an ideal endive passenger because the boldness of the cheese cuts through endive’s slight bitterness. Can’t find this cheese? Try any muscular washed rind that makes eyes at you over the cheese counter. Oma. Epoisses. Even a heady Taleggio. These cheeses are all of the same ilk, the same style: burnt-umber rinds, fudgy paste. Cheesemakers moisten the surfaces of these cheeses with brine (or booze) to create a sensuous texture and to foster a rosy glow on the rind.

Are you panting yet? Look below, Ouleout is giving you the stink eye.

Ouleout From the Side with Dill and Pears

About Ouleout (OH-lee-out): Like paté, this raw cow’s milk cheese from the western Catskills of New York is rich and beefy. When I met up with cheesemaker Jos Vulto of Vulto Creamery at a Di Bruno Bros. tasting recently, he laughed and told me that people who taste his cheese often ask, “Why do I feel like I am eating meat?” Vulto, who is a sculptor by training, has achieved cult status in the cheese world for his rustic raw-milk cheeses. He began as an urban cheese hobbyist in Brooklyn, then found such a warm response to his project that he built a small creamery in Walton, New York, where he produced his “first legal batch” in 2012. Ouleout is named after a nearby creek (which is named after an Iroquois chief). To read more about Vulto Creamery, check out this terrific story on Cheese Notes.

Pairings: A Belgian Dubbel, a brothy pu-erh tea, or for a cocktail? Something tells me this cheese-and-endive combination would be exquisite with the gin-and-onion chord expressed by a Gibson.


Today is Raw Milk Appreciation Day! How are you celebrating?


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