Notes on Cheeses – January 03, 2024

The cheeses and salami are from York Food and Drink, the bread from Plum Market in Ann Arbor. The cheese tonight was selected as they should pair nicely with assertive, acidic and tannic Tuscan wines. (Note: tonight's tasting was, at the last minute, changed to wines of Piedmont). Tonight's alternate protein source is Salami Abruzzese, an Italian-inspired salami handcrafted in western New York. Abruzzese salami incorporates a hint of fennel and garlic.

Pecorino Toscano (pasteurized sheep's milk) is a firm cheese from Tuscany and the neighboring communities of Umbria and Latium that, since 1996, has enjoyed protected origin status (PDO) in Italy. This 6-12 month aged version is firm, rich, mushroomy and nutty, with a lingering finish hinting of butterscotch. It is less salty than similar sheep's cheeses like Pecorino Romano. Made in small, dense round wheels, Pecorino Toscano is often eaten as a table cheese. This cheese should also pair well with tonight's wines.

And tonight's surprise treat is Brillat-Savarin, which happened to be available at the store. Normally I would pair this with a different wine, such as our Burgundy or Alsatian wines, it was too delicious to pass up. It was created c. 1890 as "Excelsior" or "Délice des gourmets" ("Gourmets' delight") by the Dubuc family, near Forges-les-Eaux (Seine-Maritime). Cheese-maker Henri Androuët renamed it in the 1930s, as an homage to 18th-century French gourmet and political figure Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. Brillat-Savarin is produced all year round mainly in Burgundy. It comes in 12–13 cm (4.7–5.1 in) wheels and approximately 4 cm thick, and is matured for one to two weeks in dry cellar. It is a triple cream soft-ripened cheese that is luscious, creamy and faintly sour that should be enjoyed at room temperature. Simply fabulous!

Page last updated: May 10, 2024 (EB)

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