Sheep sense

Do you find that when you learn new things that you always seem to relate them to something that you already have an understanding of? I know I do. And I guess it makes sense, to build on already acquired knowledge.

I am pretty passionate about cheese and really love to eat it. So recently I thought it would be interesting to take a class to study it. So I signed up for the introductory session at a local college, it eventually leads on to a Professional Fromager Certificate, but I'm not sure that I'll go that far. It was tons of fun, I learned a lot and we got to sample a lot of really great cheese.  Since finishing the course I have been jokingly taken to describing myself as a newly minted cheese snob! 

Part of the curriculum meant that  we spent time learning about, and tasting, the difference between cheese made from milk from different animals (lactating mammals to be precise) - cows, goats & sheep.  One thing that was new to me was evaluating & describing cheese in terms of smell, flavour mouth feel etc, just as you do at a wine tasting.

I have many favourite cheeses, but during a trip to Italy in 2009 I discovered pecorino cheese and it became a firm favourite. So during the class I was thrilled to discover a whole host of other sheep's milk cheeses.  During one particular class when we were tasting one of these I realized that the aroma seemed so familiar to me...what did it remind me of? The instructor prompted...lanolin? Yes it reminded me of wool- that was it! It reminded me of the kind of yarn that I call wooly wool- the ones that still smell like the farm or the animal. 

It was exciting to me that my worlds were colliding. I love working with yarns that still contain plenty of lanolin, they feel great and I like the smell too, especially when you come to block the pieces. Although I don't go quite as far as Clara Parks recently admitted to (at the Make, Wear, Love Retreat) - she apparently uses clear container so that she can see the dirt that comes out. But I do like the animal smell. So here I was smelling sheepy aromas in cheese and tasting what kind of flavours that imparts - that was new. I've never tasted a yarn, for the reason Clara likes her clear bowl, of course. Here I was experiencing a similar product with a different one of my senses. 

Being a brand new cheese snob I did flirt with the idea of calling a design after a cheese...but I think that might be going just a bit too far.

Thank-you for reading. I hope that you enjoy the photos....wool & cheese - both from sheep plus my local purveyors of each by LYS The Purple Purl and the Cheese Boutique

On-line, On-nine
Monthly post on the 9th of each month! 
On-line, On-nine May 9th 2015

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Please check back next month to find out what my latest fascination is.

See you next month!       
Fiona xxxx