Sunday, June 16, 2013

Bellwether Crescenza

Good evening and happy Father's Day to all the dads out there! I was fortunate enough to spend the weekend with my Dad and the rest of my immediate family and had a blast. Good food + good company + the beach = an amazing time!

Last Friday my friend Francesca was kind enough to bring in a wonderful treat for us to share - Bellwether Farms Crescenza. I had never had the honor of tasting this cheese, so I was really excited to try some..

Cheese: Crescenza
Producers: Cindy and Liam Callahan of Bellwether Farms
Region: Sonoma County, CA
Milk: Pasteurized Jersey cow's milk
Rennet: Vegetarian

This cheese is made in the style of the Italian Stracchino which is a soft ripened, but rindless cheese made from cow's milk. The cheese ages for a very short amount of time and drains solely under its own weight. By draining in this fashion, a lot of the moisture is retained in the cheese and it stay super duper soft. And because it does not have a rind, there isn't anything there to hold back the ooze when the cheese is fully ripe.

When I unwrapped this wonderfully delicate cheese, I couldn't get enough of the smell! It smelled of sweet cultured cream. I couldn't get enough of it! Francesca did mention that this particular piece of Crescenza wasn't as ooey gooey as others she had had in the past, so it held its shape a lot better than was expected. Not the less, it was wonderful, unctuous delight.

The flavor of this cheese was quite complex considering how straightforward it may seem. When I took my first bite, I was pleasantly surprised that it didn't just taste like butter or cream as a lot of soft ripened cheeses do. It was yeasty, yet had a yogurty tang. This is one of those cheeses that you could eat over and over again and still be surprised with its complexity of flavor.

Yes that is a laptop and desk phone in the background.. Francesca and I take our cheese AND work seriously :). Francesca bought this AMAZING crusty baguette that was made with golden raisins and fennel. The bread itself was killer, but when I spread the Crescenza on a toasted piece of this baguette I was in food heaven. The sweetness of the raisin worked well with the creamy tang of the cheese and the fennel added this earthy element that rounded the flavors out, not allowing it to be too sweet... YUM!

I'm not kidding, you really need to try this cheese! Francesca says that she likes to fold it into her eggs or polenta. I haven't cooked with it yet, but I'm planning on it! Swing on by any of your local Whole Foods and grab yourself some, you'll thank me later. :) Until then, eat, drink and be happy!