A (cheesy) New Year's resolution: Five cheeses to try in 2011

My resolution for 2010 was to eat more cheese than any other year. For the first time, I accomplished my goal and the numbers are staggering! Last year (according to my well maintained list of consumed cheeses) I tasted 39 sheep’s milks, 71 goat’s milks, 134 cow’s milks, 19 mixed milks and 43 blue cheese selections from all over the World. I will help you with the math: that’s 306 different cheeses! All I had to do was create a goal that was attainable. In celebration of this occasion, I have picked one cheese from each group to share with you in the hopes that you can start 2011 off right with a wedge of every single one.

Choosing one sheep’s milk cheese to recommend seemed an impossible task. They are all so flavorful and balanced. Upon scrolling through my list, Azeitão (ah-zay-DONH) stood out as the most memorable sheep’s milk selection from 2010. Made in Portugal, this wheel is small and rustic. The cheesemaker molds the curds into cloth and washes each 9-ounce wheel with brine. Azeitão is one of those sumptuous treats that you can dig into the paste with a spoon. Just cut the top off along the circumference and let it come to room temperature. This cheese is rich, sweet, acidic and vegetal pairing perfectly with Tempranillo and Albariño wines.