I'm back from my two weeks in Italy and wow, what an amazing time I had. I'm still getting over the last touches of jet lag but for the most part I'm feeling good. When I get all of my pictures compiled, I'll be sure to post some here for you all to see. If you're on Facebook, you can see them on my personal and Shootin' the Bries pages:
Today I figured I would stick with the Italy theme and talk about an Italian cheese that we have currently on promotion - the Quercino from La Casera.
Producer: La Casera
Location: Piedmont (Piemonte), Italy
Milk: Pasteurized cow's milk
Rennet: Traditional (animal)
Quercino is derived from the word "quercia" which means Oak in Italian. This is very fitting because it is indeed oak bark that wraps around this wonderful puddle of cheese. It is a soft ripened, bloomy rind cheese that has quite a bit of character. The aroma is musty, slightly funky, but very inviting. The cheese is perfectly tasty with the rind in tact and I actually prefer it that way. But, I wanted to make it easy to share, so I cut off the top "lid" to allow for a kind of fondue pot action. The paste is a straw color with a custard-like consistency. It tastes deliciously buttery, but has an umami, earthy quality that elevates the flavor to the next level. It reminds me of L'Edel de Cleron - vaguely reminiscent of the Vacherin Mont d'Or with more brie-like qualities.
I used the Lesley Stowe Raincoast Crisps to dip into this delectable treat. The fruit and seeds in the crackers gave an interesting contrast in both consistency and acidity. If I wasn't at work right now, I would be enjoying this cheese with a nice jammy Zinfandel. Thank goodness it's Friday!
Be sure to visit your local Whole Foods Market cheese counter soon as this cheese is only on sale for a few more days. And speaking of cheese counters.....
I've decided that I have missed being behind the cheese counter so much that I will be returning to the Los Altos Whole Foods Market as the Specialty Team Leader. I'll be running the beer, cheese and wine department and am really looking forward to the holiday season. If you are ever close to the Los Altos store (4800 El Camino Real, Los Altos, CA) be sure to swing by and say hello! I'd be happy to help with any cheese plates, pairings, party planning, etc.
I hope to see you there soon! My first day will be Monday, October 27th.
Until next time, eat, drink and be happy!