Thursday, May 2, 2013

Quadrello di Bufala - That's Right Folks, Buffalo Milk Cheese!

First of all, for those who are interested, I am having a blast in my new position getting ready to open up the new distribution center for our region. That being said, I'm going to be in an office with little access to cheese over the next couple of weeks so I may not blog as often as I normally do. For that I apologize, but I will definitely keep them coming!

The last week that I worked behind the cheese counter, we got in one of my favorites, Quadrello di Bufala. If you're a fan of Taleggio you'll love this cheese...

Cheese: Quadrello di Bufala
Producer: Caseificio Quattro Portoni
Region: Lombardy, Italy
Milk: Pasteurized water buffalo milk
Rennet: Traditional (animal)

This cheese is produced using almost the same recipe as Taleggio, just with water buffalo milk. The curds are cut into large pieces and gently handled in order to retain as much moisture as possible. Then it is allowed to drain under its own weight for a short amount of time and then transferred to molds. The lines that you see on the rind of the cheese are from the straw that it is allowed to age on and the funky orange color is indicative of it being a washed rind cheese. It is washed every five to six days and is aged up to 30-45 days.

The texture of the paste is thick and creamy. It is still considered a soft cheese, but will never get as soft and gooey as a triple creme would. It has a strong smell, like most washed rind cheeses, of earthiness and funk while the flavor is much more subtle with flavors of grass and cream. The buffalo milk also lends a slight gaminess to the mix with makes it a big more complex than Taleggio. 

Try this cheese with a nice Italian red. It has enough flavor to stand up to the bigger flavors in red wine but still has a nice earthy, creaminess to balance with the berry notes in the wine. I find myself just eating this cheese on its own, but it would be lovely with a crusty baguette or some fresh fruit. Maybe this is a cheese that you can pick up for your next picnic! The weather is beautiful and the grassy notes of this cheese just scream spring. 

Quadrello di Bufala is on sale right now at all Whole Foods Markets in Northern California and Reno, so make sure you swing by and ask for a sample. Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!