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Chicagoist's Cheese Of The Month: Chiriboga

By Erika Kubick in Food on May 7, 2015 4:00PM

Photo by Erika Kubick

There are certain vices that society frowns upon; eating a stick of butter is surely one of them. Luckily, you can simulate that experience, minus the social scorn, with a certain devilishly creamy blue cheese from Bayern, in southern Germany. Chiriboga, our May Cheese of the Month, is kind of like the most perfect grass-fed, slow-churned butter, cultured from a semester abroad. It has that sexy confidence, chic fashion sense and taste for expensive coffee.

Also known as Bayrischer Blauschimmelk√§se, Chiriboga is a pasteurized cow’s milk blue cheese. It's named after her maker, Arturo Chiriboga, an Ecuadorian who has been making cheese in Germany for many years. This particular cheese is aged two months and has a pale paste sprinkled with blue-gray streaks. Though originally based on the Roquefort recipe, Arturo’s cheese is quite different: whereas Roquefort is known for its fierce punch, Chiriboga is much milder.

Chiriboga with piedras, chocolate covered almonds from Spain. Photo by Erika Kubick

If you’re one of those blue cheese haters, prepare to be converted. Chiriboga’s mild, buttery flavor is extremely approachable. The texture is like that of over-churned butter: dense and stiff, yet yielding. Once it hits your tongue, it melts like ice cream. The primary aromas are of saltwater and yeast with gentle grassy, lemon flavors that spread across the palate.

While it gets along easily with a variety of flavors, we prefer to pair this cheese with sweeter accoutrements, like honey and figs. It will bring out the best in high-quality chocolates, too. Crisp, sparkling wines are also lovely alongside this creamy cheese, but our favorite way to enjoy Chiriboga is with non-alcoholic beverages. Floral black teas, like Chinese breakfast, unlock the earthy flavors of unsweetened cocoa, vanilla beans and poppy seeds. It also pairs well with the flavors in light-roast coffee. We particularly like it with Ipsento's Rwanda coffee, a combination reminiscent of chocolate milk.

If you’re wondering what to bring home to momma this Sunday, try a hunk of the approachable, crowd-pleasing Chiriboga, with some coffee-infused chocolate and a special tea—it’s the perfect present. It's an elusive cheese, but you can find Chiriboga at any of Pastoral's locations.