TIP OF THE DAY: Truffle Cheese
One of our favorite cheese experiences is truffle cheese. It provides all the pleasure of a shaved truffles dish at a fraction of the price. The cheese makers use bits and pieces that have fallen off the precious truffles during handling.
Truffle cheeses are typically made from a blend of cow’s milk and sheep’s milk or cow’s milk and goat’s milk. One of our favorites is made from only goat’s milk. Any truffle lover who tries these cheeses gets hooked.
If you can’t find the cheeses locally, you can get excellent-quality varieties from iGourmet.com, which sells individual cheeses plus a truffle cheese assortment.
Here are two we’ve been enjoying recently.
Bloomy-rinded, semisoft Truffle Tremor, from California’s Cypress Grove Chevre, is imbued with truffle aroma and flavor, dotted with black Italian summer truffles (Tuber aestivum Vittadini) truffles throughout. Elegant and sophisticated, it is a luxurious table cheese.
Among its many awards over the years are First Place at the American Cheese Society Awards in 2014, First Place at the 2014 World Championship Cheese Contest and the Super Gold at the 2014 World Cheese Awards.
It’s a perfect marriage of ripened goat cheese and truffles, delivering floral, herb and mushroom notes. Made 200 miles north of San Francisco, it’s an earth-shaking masterpiece.
A slice of heaven: Truffle Tremor. Photo courtesy Cypress Grove Chevre.
Since its creation, Truffle Tremor was only made in a three-pound wheel; you’d buy a wedge—or the whole wheel for $75.00. Now, it’s also available in a one-pound mini ($25.00).
It’s available at many fine cheese stores, and online at CypressGroveChevre.com.
For Mother’s Day or other special dinner, we like to serve a slice of the cheese with a green salad (lightly tossed in vinaigrette), or with sweet accompaniments. For a Truffle Tremor dessert plate, for every eight ounces of cheese serve:
Truffleur is another great, semisoft American truffle cheese, produced by Tumalo Farms in Oregon. This is another goat cheese, infused with native Oregon white truffles, then aged three to four months.
It’s rare to find a white truffle cheese. The flavor and aroma are distinctively different from black truffles. Because the cheese is relatively mild, the truffle flavor really comes through at the finish—wonderful! Since it is made with the local truffle harvest, this cheese is seasonal, usually available only December through February. So mark your calendar.
Semihard, in addition to the cheese plate it can be used to make a spectacular mac and cheese, or to melt atop a burger.
Fromager d’affinois with Périgord truffles. Photo courtesy Fromagerie Guilloteau.
From France, this variety of fromager d’affinois, a Brie-like double-crème cow’s milk cheese, is a beautiful blend of the creamy cheese with the subtle earthiness of the truffles.
The black truffles are from Périgord—the best truffles in the world. It is a seasonal product that is in store for the holidays from October to January and then again in March through May.
You can find it now in most gourmet/specialty stores, Whole Foods Markets, Trader Joe’s (as a unit size under their label called the Truffle Brie) and some Costco stores. Learn more at FromagerDAffinois.com.
These tips should be followed with all fine cheese:
Forget the plastic wrap: Re-wrapping soft-ripened cheese in wax paper or parchment paper will allow the cheese to breath as it continues to ripen.
Keep the cheese cold (33°-35°F) and remove from the fridge at least one hour before serving.
BEER WINE PAIRINGS WITH TRUFFLE CHEESE
These are the favorite pairings from the folks at Cypress Grove Chevre:
Check out our comprehensive article and glossary of the different truffle types.