Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 497 : SCS Version 5.0, Dispatch #3 - Truffle Cheeses

Truffles are the ultimate in decadence when it comes to a cheese infusion in my mind -- the "black tie" ingredient that's for sure! Cheeses infused with truffles are traditionally meant to be enjoyed with a nice glass of bubbly or a smooth red wine. Truffles tend to provide a cheese with an earthy rustic umami quality -- a great punch of flavor but nothing too overwhelming.

For today's foray into truffle infused cheeses I actually chose a Wisconsin crafted cheese that is modeled on the Italian greats so you could see a direct correlation of old world cheese making influencing new world cheese making. Granted for the old world cheese, I chose something unique...

Black Sheep Truffle crafted by Carr Valley Cheese in La Valle, WI is a sheep's milk cheese that has been aged for at least six months that is infused with black truffle flakes and is rubbed in black truffle olive oil. Sweet and buttery ivory interior paste is peppered with black truffle flecks infusing the cheese with excellently earthy notes. The truffle oil that is applied on the exterior dials up the truffle quotient and dresses the cheese up. Great with a nice medium bodied red wine or even a glass of bubbly.

And what of its Italian counterpart?

I chose what I thought was the most unique Italian truffle cheese crafted in Sardinia -- Pecorino Moliterno al Tartufo. It is a raw sheep's milk cheese in which the truffles are injected into the cheese once it has been aged for five months so that the cheese's unique flavors are able to develop pre-truffle. During its five month aging process, the cheese is rubbed with local olive oils and vinegar to coax out the raw sheep's milk flavor profile. You might be wondering, what's injected exactly? A black truffle paste. What happens when the black truffle paste is injected to the Pecorino cheese? Deep and thick black-ish veins populate the cheese almost like one would see in certain blue cheeses. Also due to the injection, instead of the interior paste being ivory white like our Wisconsin cheese or even another Italian truffle cheese like Sottocenere, it is darker and more ominous looking. Don't get me wrong, the cheese is a burst of truffle flavor with a nice salty, savory, creamy, cheesy counterpart. Heaven in cheese form -- enjoy with a glass of red wine.


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