A ripe, runny Camembert shows its bloomy white rind and creamy paste (the interior of the cheese). Photo courtesy of iGourmet.com.
|Recently we were at a professional wine event, and some fine cheeses were being served. We were dismayed to note that most people had scooped out the soft, runny centers of the bloomy rind cheeses, leaving the white rinds as ghostly shells. Cheese fans: The soft, white bloomy rinds are meant to be eaten. If you’ve been cutting them away, try them while they’re still pure and white. Connoisseurs consider them part of the unique character of the cheese, and will eat them even as they age and lose their pure white appeal. You’ll find bloomy rind cheeses made from cow’s milk, goat’s milk and sheep’s milk, although the most famous happen to be from cow’s milk and are also two of the most popular cheeses in the world, Brie and Camembert. Other bloomy-rinded favorites include triple crèmes such as Brillat-Savarin, Saint-Andre and Pierre Robert. (See the Glossary Of Cheese Terms in the Cheese Section of THE NIBBLE online magazine for more information.)|
|(CHEESE TRIVIA: Brie and Camembert are essentially the same cheese made in different locations and in different sizes. Camembert, named after its village in northwest France, is made in 4.5-inch wheels and Brie, named for the province in northern France where it originated, is made in 11- to 11.8-inch wheels [although “baby Bries” are now made as well]. Read our full article on the difference between Brie and Camembert.)
The Bloomy Rind category of cheese refers to those cheeses with snowy white, downy rinds and soft, creamy interiors. (Bloomy rind, also called white rind or soft-ripened cheese, is one of the major categories of cheese. Along with the fresh cheeses, it comprises the Soft Cheese category. The rind is composed of one of the greatest cheese molds, Penicillium candidum, which grows naturally as the cheese ages. The rind is produced by spraying the surface of the cheese with Penicillium candidum before the brief aging period (about two weeks). The mold grows on the outside of the cheese, breaking down the protein and fat inside, making it soft, runny and more complex.
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