A friend came over for some fraternity and conversation last night. We decided to have just a simple spread of cheese with some white wine. And I decided it would be helpful to share this experience.
I was looking at the cheese counter at just a simple express supermarket. It is amazing what you can find in these little shops. One living near Campo dei Fiori should go to Ruggeri – the historic family owned wine and deli counter in the Campo – but I knew I wanted cheeses with a deep flavor and to compliment a full-body white that also carried a sweetness.
This was a bit extravagant, but when one has access to these things he should take advantage of it – in the end, it balances out – if your meal is going to be cheese, be adventurous and try something new.
I bought two familiar cheeses, a Pecorino di Pienza riserva and a Taleggio (see Tutto Risotto™ for more on this amazing cheese). But this orange cheese caught my eye, I mean, I grew up eating American cheese every day. When I think cheese, I think ORANGE..right?
But this orange was much deeper, and I could just imagine what the flavor was going to be like. I tend to enjoy the Italian and European produce (wine and cheese, etc) that has a complexity in its color. I was actually looking for a wine that some friends brought over to compliment a risotto dish once. It was a sicilian white wine, that was actually an amber color. And it had a cool label. I’ll share once I find it…I could ask them, but that takes away the adventure and the stress that keeps one on his toes in Rome.
On to the cheese:
This cheese was called Mimolette Mons. It is a French cheese made from pasteurized cow’s milk; made in Lille, France. It had a smooth bite and a nutty flavor. It was originally made by the request of Louis XIV who – in the context of Jean-Baptiste Colbert’s mercantilistic policies – was looking for a native French product to replace the then very popular Edam. To make it distinct from Edam he seasoned it with annatto to give it a sweet and nutty flavor and a distinct orange color. [Annatto comes from the seeds of the achiote tree; its scent is described as “slightly peppery with a hint of nutmeg” and flavor as “slightly nutty, sweet and peppery”.]
The price that I paid was $23 per pound (naturally, I only bought 100 g). Here are some options on Amazon US (6 ounces, $11.99; 1 lb, $34.57; 6.2 lbs, 18 mos aged $159.95 – this last one is just 10% marked up from the price I could get in the city, and being 18 mos aged, its higher quality than the other two linked. If you’re having a party…); Amazon UK (300 g, 12 mos aged, £14.89 – very good price! and it would go well with this Pinot Gris: £15.57).
And I suggest you share…