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Serving bubbly for Christmas or New Year’s Eve? The perfect cheese to serve with Champagne or other sparklers is a double-crème or a triple-crème.
Double- and triple-creme cheeses have a distinctive texture (very creamy) and flavor (buttery). Extra cream is added before the curd is formed, creating the heavenly richness.
DOUBLE CRÈME CHEESES
According to Cheese Primer by Steven Jenkins, the first double-crème cheese was made in Normandy in 1850 by a cheesemaker whose name has been lost to history. He was a short man of Swiss extraction, and called his cheese Petit-Suisse (possibly his nickname!).
By law, a French double-crème cheese has between 60% and 75% butterfat. Note that this is the percentage of fat in the dry matter of the cheese. Most double- and triple-crèmes have about 50% moisture, so a Brie that has 60% butterfat in the dry matter is actually 31% total fat.
Decorate your Brie for a party. Photo courtesy WisDairy.com.
As a point of reference, butter itself contains between 80% total fat (the legal minimum in the U.S) to 86% total fat.
Double-crème examples include:
Brie (a minority of Bries are triple-crèmes)
Domestic beauties: Bodacious from Bohemian Creamery in California, Cremont from Vermont Creamery and others (ask your cheesemonger)
TRIPLE CRÈME CHEESES
Like the first double-crème, the first triple-crème cheese was also made in Normandy (France’s dairy heartland), 75 years after Petit-Suisse was introduced. Called Le Magnum, it was made by the Dubuc family and was the ancestor of Brillat-Savarin*. By law, French triple-crème cheeses must have a butterfat content of 75% or more.
Pick up this luscious Brillat-Savarin, a
triple-crème cheese, at Whole Foods
Markets. Photo courtesy Whole Foods.
A Brillat-Savarin with 75% butterfat in the dry matter actually has 39% total fat.
Délice de Bourgogne
Domestic choices such as Kunik from Nettle Meadow in New York State, Mt. Tam and Red Hawk from Cowgirl Creamery in California, Triple Cream Disk, a chèvre from Coach Farms in New York State and other creamy delights (see what’s available from your cheesemonger)
*The cheese was named for the French epicure (and also lawyer and politician) Brillat-Savarin, who famously said “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are.”
HOW TO SERVE A DOUBLE-CREME OR TRIPLE CREME CHEESE
You can go from basic (fruit) to gourmet (truffles):
Grapes, mango, raspberries or strawberries are the best matches.
Cut the cheese in half horizontally; spread the bottom cut side with truffle butter or shaved truffles, and replace the top half of the cheese (let it sit for 30 minutes to develop flavor).
Optional additions to the filling: toasted walnuts (toast then chop) or, with shaved truffles, a thin layer of mascarpone and/or a drizzle of honey.
Bread or Crackers
Choose among baguette slices, water biscuits, wheatmeal biscuits (slightly sweetened whole wheat crackers) or other favorites.
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