Power Ballad

A cult cheesemaker's latest creation

Cheesemaker Soyoung Scanlan prefers to work alone.

It's the only way she ensures that every cheese she releases under her line, Andante Dairy, meets her exacting specifications. It also means that the supply is maddeningly limited. And with fans such as Thomas Keller and Daniel Humm snatching up the inventory, her artistry is rarely found outside of a fancy dining room or the Bay Area, where she works.

But in an unprecedented move, Scanlan has struck a partnership, and we're reaping the benefits. For her most recent creation, Ballad ($27 a pound), she teamed with Mikuni Wild Harvest, using bourbon-barrel-aged maple syrup from its Noble Tonic line to wash the rind.

After our first taste, we reeled at the texture: Although the goat's-milk cheese is aged for five to six months and has the grip and solidity of a semifirm variety, it coats the mouth with a fatty richness that suggests a softer variety of curd. The typically tart flavor found in most goat cheese is mellowed by the syrup, leaving the same type of salt-and-butter concentration common in the creamiest mashed potatoes.

Ballad is available through the Mikuni website, but move quickly: Like all of Scanlan's creations, this song is fleeting.