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Cheese Of The Month: The Manchester

By Erika Kubick in Food on Mar 5, 2015 9:10PM

Photo by Erika Kubick

No offense to the Pisces and Aries amongst us, but March is the worst time of the year. It’s the mushiest and slushiest month, and the last bitter winds of winter still sting between the days of sloppy melted snow. On the other hand, the arrival of March is a sure sign that winter is ending, however slowly. You can start to taste moisture in the air, you can go a day without lip balm unharmed, and there’s asparagus in the grocery store again. Let’s freshen up for spring with The Manchester, a young gentleman of the soft-ripened variety from Zingerman’s Creamery in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The Manchester is a soft, bloomy cheese made from cream and gently pasteurized cow’s milk. While many double-cream cheeses are decadent like fresh butter, Manchester is more humble. He smells of mushrooms and soil, aromas that arise from the geotrichum mold that wrinkles the velvet-soft rind. His paste is fluffy like whipped mousse and tastes like fresh yogurt, showcasing the quality of the milk. This cheese hits your palate like a dense cloud and evaporates into a refreshing spring mist. The Manchester changes as he ages: crumbly and fresh in his youth, earthy and smooth with a few weeks of maturity. He’s a dapper cheese, charming enough to stand on his own. For those who prefer accoutrements, he plays well with citrus-forward marmalades—like the blood orange relish pictured above—but also gets along with more savory accompaniments like tomato, prosciutto and chutney. You can even sprinkle him with sugar and bruleĆ© or bake him in a puff pastry.

You can find Manchester on Zingerman’s website, and at Whole Foods and Pastoral. Enjoy it also at Blackbird, where Dana Creed has paired the cheese with guava leather and rose.