Good evening everyone!
The other day when I was browsing the cheese department at the Whole Foods Market in Los Altos, I came across a cheese that I had heard a lot about, but had never actually tried - Brebiou. I had been told about this cheese in the past and decided to buy a piece and see what it was all about.
Producer: Fromagerie des Chaumes
Region: Southwest France
Milk: Pasteurized sheep's milk
Rennet: Traditional (animal)
After researching this cheese, I came up with the fact that this cheese is basically an industrial product. But that doesn't mean it's a bad cheese! Fromage d'Affinois is another example of an industrial "artisan" cheese and I sold a TON of that cheese from my cheese counter.
I like the Brebiou because it is super approachable and while mellow in flavor, still pretty complex. For me, sheep's milk makes some of the best cheeses and it's not often that I come across a bloomy rind cheese made with 100% sheep's milk. When you first take a bite, you are greeted with the beautiful creaminess and unctuous mouthfeel of the paste followed by the little hint of funky mushroom from the rind. The sheep's milk lends a nice nutty flavor and while creamy, it is not as "buttery" as a lot of cow's milk bloomy rind cheeses are.
This would be a cheese that I would use to introduce people to "other" milk cheeses. I remember when I first got into the cheese world, I was super scared to try a goat or sheep's milk cheese (blasphemy, I know). But when I did, I was hooked! I think that with the Brebiou, that will be the story for many other soon to be turophiles. :)
My friend/coworker, Francesca and I made quick work of this cheese. All we had were some nice sesame flatbread crackers and we were good to go. If you're a fan of the Fromage d'Affiinois and you're down to try something a little bit different, go to your nearest Whole Foods and ask if they carry the Brebiou. Not all cheese counters will have it, but if they do, ask for a taste.
Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!