Lately, I have been having a lot of discussions with my wine making friend, Evan Lewandowski of Ruth Lewandowski Wines. When the topic of terroir in the winery comes up, it's certainly a concept I'm familiar with. However, in tasting this week's cheesy bit, I actually felt a deep connection with it. This week's revelation: our cheese cave has terroir! 

This unique little micro climate with a one of a kind cocktail of varied cheese wheels produces flora on the longer aged cheeses that has a very distinctive taste. I like to call it "caramelized must." 

When the wheels are taken too far in their aging in the cave it can produce a very bitter edge to the cheese, but when done just right it is like stewed milk mixed with a reduction sauce made from old damp oak. (Ed. note: Although that may not sound tasty in regular English, in cheese-speak it spells delicious.)

Antonia, our Affineuse (pro cheese ager) has really become one of the most impressive individuals in Utah's food scene for whatever sweet nothings she whispers to her babies in the cave. 

Never has this been better exemplified than in our current wheel of Tome de Vache Basque. Similar in production to our Ossau Iraty Reserve, but made with cow's milk instead of sheep. The difference in fats and proteins in the milk causes the 4 months of aging in our cave to take it in a totally different direction than the same aging does for the Ossau or Chabrin.
 
As always at Caputo's, samples are free, and we would be glad to show you where and how Tome de Vache are aged in the cave. Do yourself a favor and come taste this. Antonia is a genius and you are missing true downtown SLCterroir if you don't.
 
Matt Caputo is a Certified Cheese Expert, owner of Caputo's Deli and a contributor to saltlakemagazine.com