Ask five people what they taste when they suck a plush gobbet of Cowgirl Creamery's Pierce Pt. off their finger and you'll get five different answers. "Chamomile!" "Fennel!" "Coriander!" Personally, I always manage to pull out a flavor that reminds me of the big steaming bowls of oatmeal my mother used to dish out on cold Minnesota mornings. And now, with San Francisco skies waxing chill and nights that stretch dark and long like a Halloween cat flexing its supple spine, Pierce Pt. is once again of the season.
Once upon a time when I was a sweet young cheesemonger, Pierce Pt. was thick with herbs that scattered messily as a knife pulled through the encrusted round. It was a delicious mess, however, because I delighted in taking small white wedges and stamping them all over the plate, sticking up the herbs in a woodsy, furry collection.
Although it continues to be made with organic whole milk from the Straus Family dairy, today's Pierce Pt. is more restrained, refined, and graced with a delicate scattering of herbs that grow around the coastal climes of Tomales Bay. A quick spritz of a sweet and golden wine from Fetzer deepens the cheese's flavor and encourages the gilding of chamomile, fennel, bay, and coriander to cling fast to the natural, soft mold.