rin d'Amour is made from sheep's milk in Corsica, France. As its history would suggest (for too many reasons to go into here) this week's cheese has two names. The first, Brin d' Amour, means "a breath of love." However, I prefer to refer to it by its alias, Fleur du Maquis or "flower of the maquis." The "maquis" meaning the bramble or thicket where highway robbers and guerrilla fighters would hang out.
The rind of this soft cheese is covered in rosemary, fennel, juniper berries and bird's eye chili before aging. When young (as our current inventory is now) the texture is like a very airy and light fresh Chevre. The taste is tangy and citrusy with light herbaceous notes.
When the cheese is more aged (two more weeks in Caputo's cave), the texture becomes smoother and oozy. Green and white molds on the surface begin to intensify the woody and floral notes of the dry herbs into the paste.
The sheep graze on pretty sparse and shrubby Mediterranean landscape of Corsica, but the taste of their fodder is only amplified in the extra aged version. A well aged Fleur du Maquis has so much interaction with the moldy/herby rind that the paste tastes like a tea made from wood chips and dried herbs with some nice musky sheep's milk added.
To fully appreciate this cheese you must try it young and old. I suggest trying the young cheese now and then returning in a couple weeks to see the transformation. When young, pair with reds such as Spanish Rioja, French Rhones such as Syrah. When more aged it is great with Gruner Veltliner, an Albarino or even a slightly sweet Riesling.