The other day I stopped in at my old store and this cheese caught my eye... (thanks Teresa!)
Cheese: Fiorito with Cherry Leaves
Producer: Giovanni Samela, owner and cheesemaker at Pietra del Sale
Location: Basilicata in Southern Italy
Milk: Pasteurized goat's milk
Rennet: Traditional (animal)
The picture above is actually only half of the cheese. The Fiorito actually comes in a small square that is completely and beautifully wrapped in the cherry leaves. It's like a little cheese parcel or present. Super cute and super delectable! And when you cut into it, the paste just oozes out and you get a whiff of the funky, gamey, goaty goodness that is inside. Wow.
If you take the leaves off, it looks something like this. It's a soft, bloomy rind goat cheese that looks innocent but sure packs in the flavor. When you take your first bite, you start off with a milky, slightly goaty tang and then it develops into this bright acidity with a touch of funk and not a little gameyness. If you also include the rind when you're tasting this cheese, you really get the woodsy flavor the cherry leaves add.
I warn you, this is not a beginner goat's milk cheese. If your friends are hesitant when it comes to tasting goat cheeses, this probably isn't the cheese to start with. But, if you're a goat cheese lover like myself, you'll fall in love with the Fiorito. Most if not all Whole Foods Markets in Northern California are carrying this cheese right now, so stop on in and ask for a sample! While you're there, grab some sour cherry preserves as well as some fresh cherries to go with this cheese. You won't be disappointed.
Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!