Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cheese of the Week 7/30

Bra Duro

Produced as a Italian farmhouse cheese from cow's milk, Bra Duro Cheese is a "sister" cheese to the Bra Tenero cheeses which differ only in the length of aging. A Bra Tenero cheese will be aged for slightly less than 2 months while a Bra Duro cheese ages for 3 months at a minimum and longer for some cheese producers enabling a sharper flavor to develop. The term Duro is the Italian word for rough or rugged, which is used to describe the coarse outer rind. Darker yellow in color and semi-firm to firm in texture, Bra Duro Cheese provides a cheddar-like flavor from a paste that is filled with numerous small eyes. Sharp and somewhat nutty tasting best describes the flavor from this cheese. It is a good cheese to use for snacking or for grating as a topping on pasta and casseroles. When paired with wine, this cheese goes well with a medium-bodied red wine or an amber beer.

Mahon, from the island of Menorca, is one of a few cow's milk cheeses from Spain. Mahón boasts a certain sharpness, and its lemony, salty flavors evince the rural Mediterranean seascape. Its rind contains a hard, crumbly cheddar-like texture and darkens as the wheels age. At peak, Mahón is tangy, intense and delicious. Pair this cheese with Madeira or Tempranillo.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cheese of the week update

Castelrosso is made using the milk of the Pezzata Rossa and Bruno Alpina cows and is aged in underground cellars for at least three months during which time it develops its crusty rind that is mottled with grey, white and yellow molds. The rind contrasts beautifully with the interior which is pure white. The aroma is earthy and lactic, the texture is moist but slightly crumbly and the flavor is a balanced combination of lactic flavors and lemony brightness. As it ages, the interior will darken from the outside edges toward the interior and those sections will give bigger flavors of nuts and earth.

Autor Cheese is a raw goat's milk cheese from Quatratondo, 60 km outside of Valencia. Raw goat cheese is curdled with thistle rennet and aged 60 days in an underground cavern. Depending on the season the cheese can be creamy, flaky or runny. The flavor finishes grassy, herbal and citrus-y.

Malvarosa was first imported to the U.S. in August of 2004 to save the nearly extinct Guirra sheep. The paste is firm, but buttery, and incredibly rich and sweet. Aged for a minimum of three months; careful cheesemaking and gentle pasteurization preserve the delicate flavors.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Two New Italian Cheeses

Strachitunt - (strah-kee-TOONT) - A rustic raw cow's milk blue cheese from the Lombardy region of Italy.
The production of Strachitunt gourmet cheese follows an ancient 2-curd technique. The mixture of the warm morning curd with the cold evening curd promotes the formation of mould. The rind is wrinkled and thin with a light-brown color. The Strachitunt cheese paste is pale or straw-yellow. It has an aromatic, mouth-filling flavor and a attractive nose of 'autumn leaves' and hazelnuts. Pair this cheese with Sauternes, Sémillon, Sauvignon blanc, or Muscadelle.

VerdeCapra - A new (so new there are no pictures) Blue goat cheese. I tried this at the fancy food show last week and I thought we should have it here as soon as possible. It's a creamy and tangy Pasteurized cheese with a moisture level similar to Gorgonzola Dolce.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Cheese of the week explained

When I order the cheese from the distributors we buy from, I'm (A#1) sometimes able to get some great close-out deals on things, (B#2) or I'm providing special requests or finally (C#3) buying some favorites that are almost always in stock but aren't always available.

This week some of the things that I've bought for you are:

Produced with milk from Castilla Leon and aged in El Escorial. Firm blue. Sheep's milk. Very salty. Has a hard to describe unique taste. Do not plan on kissing anyone for a while after trying this one.


A soft-ripened pastuerized cow's milk cheese from the producer that makes the Tallegio. Has a smooth, full flavor and a powerful aroma.

Made in the mountains of Leon, Spain, this tangy cheese is made from pure Alpine goat milk. Uniquely molded into a long brick shape, the cheese is covered with a natural mold and
develops a creamy consistency over the three month aging process.