In the Age of Exploration, the wind swept Azores west of Portugal were the last stop for navigators, from Columbus on down, before heading out to the New World.
The islands are also where Joe and Mary Matos, grew up and learned about cheese. When they arrived in Sonoma County in the late 1970s, the Matoses brought with them a craft honed from four generations of Portuguese cheesemakers.
St. George, named after the Matos' home island (Sao Jorge in Portuguese), is a semi-hard cheese made from unpasteurized cow's milk. It's a farmstead variety, so all the milk comes from the family's 50-strong herd of Holsteins.
It's a deeply flavorful cheese, that tastes sort of like a cross between Cheddar and a young Asiago. It has a light, clean aroma, with a slight tangy taste and an almost buttery texture. (Not quite buttery, since it's an aged cheese. But almost buttery, which is a mighty good thing.)
PAIRINGS: St. George is light enough to go with white wines like Viognier, but has a depth of flavor that would stand up to a Pinot Noir or other medium-bodied red. In Portugal, they often serve it with cornbread, which makes me think it would also be great melted into polenta.