Le Tastevin Wine Club - Notes on Cheeses - January 15, 2014

Frommage d'Affinois - a French double-creme, soft ripened cheese made from cow's milk by the Fromagerie Guilloteau. Yes, it looks like Brie, and is similar in production, appearance and flavor. But No, it is not Brie! Unlike Brie, the cow's milk undergoes ultrafiltration, removing water from the pasteurized milk, thus increasing its flavor, creaminess, nutrients and proteins. With a fat content of 60%, Fromage d' Affinois qualifies as a double-creme cheese, which positions it halfway between a classic Brie (about 45% fat) and a buttery triple-creme like Brillat-Savarin (about 75%). Its sweet mild flavor does not have the mushroomy earthiness found in Brie, but is creamier and softer, and is great spread on a fresh baguette or a great cracker. (Plastic knives have been provided.) It is ideal with a sweet German wine or a glass of Chablis. Attached is a recent article about soft-double creme cheeses from the Wine Spectator. (Note: This cheese is made with Penicillium camemberti, like many other cheeses.)

"At the top of the heap was the Fromage d'Affinois, which looks like it came out of central casting: plump, with an enticing ooze, a luxuriously creamy mouth feel, and hints of Truffles. For the 'Brie and Chablis crowd'." - Wine Spectator

Neal's Yard, Lincolnshire Poacher - (English, raw cows'milk) has been grouped among the world's great Cheddar cheeses such as Montgomery's, Keens, Fiscalini Bandaged, Grafton, Upland's Pleasant Ridge Reserve, and Double Gloucester, all of which we have tasted at Le Tastevin in the past, but is somewhat different in style than true English Cheddars. The texture is creamier than most other Cheddars and the flavors last and last. Poacher was invented by Simon Jones, after studying cheese makingwith Jamie Montgomery, in 1992 on his family farm in east England, along the North Sea, far from where most English Cheddars are made. A farmstead cheese from the milk of only 260 Holstein "Happy Cows" (see their website for a video of why their cows are happy), it has achieved numerous awards and much renown since its third year of production. Poacher is made from October through May and is aged 14 to 16 months. It has a lovelysweet-butter aroma, wonderful crystalline texture reminiscent of a great Parmigianino-Reggiano without the salt, and has in incredibly long finish. The waxy pale cheese looks like Cheddar without the cloth binding. The rind is initially Plasticote which allows the cheese to breathe, but which eventually wears off and turns into a natural rind. Poacher's flavor is more reminiscent of a Swiss Gruyere or French Comte than a true Cheddar: deep smooth and fruity with tones of pineapple, toffee and butterscotch. Enjoy!

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