Hooligan Cheese, a bold and beautiful dairy delight, is a creation that truly stands out in the world of gourmet cheese. Made by Mark Gillman at Cato Corner Farm in Connecticut, Hooligan is a strong-smelling, stinky cheese that captivates the senses.
So, what is Hooligan Cheese? It’s a daring, vibrant standout in the world of artisanal cheeses, a testament to the skill and creativity of its cheesemaker, and a flavorful journey for any cheese lover bold enough to try it.
Quick Facts About Hooligan Cheese
|Made by||Cato Corner Farm|
|Milk Source||Jersey cow|
|Aging Time||60 to 75 days|
|Flavor Profile||Pungent, meaty, with hints of fruit and nuts|
|Best Paired With||Dark breads, fruits, robust wines and beers|
|Serving Temperature||Room temperature|
|Shelf Life||About 2 to 4 weeks, refrigerated|
|Availability||Year-round, but best in the fall|
|Awards||American Cheese Society Winner (various years)|
What is Hooligan Cheese?
Hooligan Cheese is a unique artisanal cheese that hails from Cato Corner Farm in Connecticut, USA. It’s a distinctive stinky cheese, known for its strong aroma and robust flavor. Made by cheesemaker Mark Gillman, Hooligan Cheese is crafted from the raw milk of freely grazing cows, contributing to its rich and complex taste.
Aging for 60-75 days, Hooligan is a ripe washed-rind cheese that expresses a soft creamy paste and a slightly firmer center. The rind of this cheese is rubbed with buttermilk during its aging process, which gives it an underlying barnyard pungency. As the cheese matures, its interior becomes plumper and tends to soften under the rind.
Hooligan’s flavor profile is assertive, meaty, and pungent. It’s a supple, creamy, and full-flavored cheese that is redolent of wine and fermented fruit. Because of these characteristics, Hooligan draws comparisons with European classics like Limburger and Alsatian Muenster.
Despite its strong aroma, Hooligan Cheese finds favor among cheese connoisseurs who appreciate its boldness and complexity. Whether you’re serving it on a cheese board or incorporating it into a gourmet recipe, Hooligan Cheese is sure to leave an impression.
What Does Hooligan Cheese Taste Like?
Hooligan Cheese is known for its robust and complex flavor profile. It’s a washed-rind cheese, which means it has a strong, pungent aroma, often described as barnyard-like or earthy. But don’t let the smell fool you – the taste is surprisingly sophisticated and layered.
The cheese offers a meaty flavor with a slightly sweet, nutty undertone. As it ages, the taste becomes richer, and you may detect hints of fermented fruit and a touch of tanginess. The rind, which is washed in brine during maturation, adds a subtle salty note to the overall flavor.
The texture also plays a part in the Hooligan experience. It’s semi-soft and creamy, becoming more buttery as it ripens. This creaminess helps to balance out the powerful flavors and makes the cheese melt delightfully in the mouth.
Despite its assertive taste, Hooligan Cheese is not overly sharp or aggressive. Instead, it offers a well-rounded, full-bodied flavor that leaves a lasting impression on your palate. It’s a cheese that invites you to savor and enjoy its complexity, making it an excellent choice for those who appreciate strong, characterful cheeses.
Hooligan Cheese Tasting Notes
- Aroma: Hooligan Cheese is a washed-rind cheese, known for its potent, barnyard-like aroma. It’s earthy and pungent, hinting at the robust flavors within.
- Flavor: The flavor of Hooligan Cheese is complex and layered. It’s primarily meaty, with a slight sweetness that balances out the richness. As it ages, the cheese develops hints of fermented fruit and a touch of tanginess.
- Texture: Hooligan is a semi-soft cheese with a creamy texture. As it ripens, it becomes more buttery, which adds to its mouthfeel and enhances the overall tasting experience.
- Rind: The rind of Hooligan Cheese is washed in brine during the maturation process. This gives it a subtle salty note that complements the cheese’s other flavors.
- Aftertaste: Hooligan Cheese leaves a lasting impression on the palate. Its aftertaste is rich and full-bodied, inviting you to savor and appreciate its complexity.
- Pairing Suggestions: Due to its strong flavor profile, Hooligan Cheese pairs well with robust wines and beers, dark breads, and fruits. It can also be used in gourmet recipes where its distinct taste can shine through.
7 Best Hooligan Cheese Substitutes
|Cheese||Short Description||Tasting Profile|
|Medium Cheddar||A popular semi-hard cheese from cow’s milk, originating from the English village of Cheddar.||Nutty, rich, and slightly sharp, with a firm texture.|
|Spanish Manchego||A famous Spanish cheese made from the milk of Manchega sheep.||Creamy and slightly tangy, with a distinctive crumbly texture.|
|Bloomsday||An aged cheese from Cato Corner Farm, made from raw cow’s milk.||Sweet and nutty, with hints of caramel and a smooth, firm texture.|
|Swiss Cheese||A generic name for several related varieties of cheese, known for its distinctive holes or “eyes”.||Mild and nutty, with a firm, smooth texture.|
|Provolone||An Italian cheese made from cow’s milk, typically aged for 2-3 months.||Mildly sharp, with a smooth, semi-hard texture.|
|Pepper Jack||A variety of Monterey Jack cheese flavored with spicy chili peppers and herbs.||Spicy and creamy, with a semi-soft texture.|
|American Cheese||A processed cheese product, often used in burgers and sandwiches.||Mild and creamy, with a soft, smooth texture.|
What Pairs Well with Hooligan Cheese?
Food that goes well with Hooligan Cheese:
|Breads & Crackers||Whole grain bread, sourdough bread, rustic baguette, rye crackers, multigrain crisps, and oatcakes.|
|Fruits & Vegetables||Apple slices, pear slices, dried figs, grapes, olives, roasted red peppers, and pickles.|
|Meats & Proteins||Smoked salmon, prosciutto, salami, sliced turkey, roasted chicken, and almonds.|
|Sauces & Spreads||Fig jam, honey, whole grain mustard, chutney, and olive tapenade.|
|Sweet Treats||Dark chocolate, honeycomb, almond biscotti, and fruit tartlets.|
Also read: 11 Best Crackers that Pair Well with Cheese
Beverage that goes well with Hooligan Cheese:
|Wine||Full-bodied red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Zinfandel. Lighter white wines like Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. Dessert wines like Port or Sherry.|
|Beer||Robust beers like IPAs, Stouts, or Belgian Ales. Lighter beers like Pilsners or Lagers. Fruit beers or sour beers also pair well.|
|Spirits||Whiskey, especially rich, full-bodied varieties like Scotch or Irish whiskey. Brandy or Cognac also pairs well.|
|Non-Alcoholic||Sparkling water, unsweetened iced tea, apple cider, or grape juice.|
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