12 days of cheesemas, cheese advent calendar, cow's milk cheese, italian cheeses, Ubriaco del Piave, Wine washed cheese

12 Days of Cheesemas–Day 6

(photo by Affinage Cheese)

The nose on Ubriaco del Piave is intoxicating. The vibrant purple rind is a literal mash-up of Merlot, Raboso and Cabernet grapes and, unlike it’s bastard Spanish cousin, The Drunken Goat, Ubriaco (which means ‘drunk’ in Italian) actually takes on the flavor of the grapes. Its paste is sharp and sweet, with a good bite coming in from the raw cow’s milk. The finish, however, is smooth and pleasant.  Finishing the last bite, with both paste and rind, turns it into a pleasant bowl of berries and cream.

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12 days of cheesemas, blue cheese, cheese advent calendar, cheesemas, italian cheeses

12 Days of Cheesemas–Day 2

(photo from Murray’s Cheese)

I’m going to confess to you that I don’t usually enjoy Gorgonzolas. Truth is, every time I eat some, the pungency of the mold seems to attack my sinuses. So, I have a hard time recommending them after such violence. But, then there’s Gorgonzola Cremificato.

Much denser than the Mountain or Dolce variety, this is more like someone took a pint of the finest Italian gelato and stirred in a bit of blue cheese. It’s more sweet and pepper than tanginess and bite. Pears, honey, caramelized walnuts. Pair what you’d like and cook with the whatever you happen to have leftover.

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12 days of cheesemas, aged cheeses, cheese advent calendar, counting down my favorite holiday cheeses, holiday cheese plates, italian cheeses, parmigiano reggiano, raw milk

12 Days of Cheesemas–Day 12


(photo from Culture Magazine)

Parmigiano Reggiano. Not pre-grated, not that shit that comes in a canned shaker or is any way, shape or form, pasteurized. We’re talking about the “King of Cheeses” for God’s sake, so have some respect here. You want the real stuff, raw and imported. You know I love my American cheese makers, but you have my permission–actually, my encouragement–to roll your eyes at the next person trying to sell you ‘Parmesan’ at the farmer’s market. It’s not even a distant cousin to the real thing. This is 660 years of traditional cheese making at it’s absolutely most perfect execution. What the cow’s eat, how the milk is heated, where it’s aged–all of it is regulated by law and all of that fuss makes sense after one bite. There is no other cheese as nuanced as Parmigiano, with its perfect balance of creaminess, crunch, sweetness and salt. This is one of those cheeses that, once you have the real thing, you are very hard pressed to use any lesser substitute.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Missus and I to our friends, family and fellow food lovers.

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12 days of cheesemas, cheese, counting down my favorite holiday cheeses, holiday cheese plate, italian cheeses, piave

12 Days of Cheesemas–Day 4


(photo from The Cheese Library)

Piave Vecchio is the younger, much overlooked cousin to Parmesan Reggiano. Aged significantly younger (this cheese ranges from young–30-60 days old, to Vecchio Oro del Tempo–12+ months), it pleases the palate with a creamy, nutty paste, filled with those little ‘crunchy bits‘ that people can’t seem to get enough of. While your first instinct may be to grab the grater and top some pasta with it, it makes a fantastic nibbling cheese, especially for those who don’t like their aged cheese to have too much sharpness.

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