DuVillage Le Triple Creme Cheese

DuVillage Le Triple Creme – Canada

DuVillage Triple Creme Cheese

DuVillage Le Triple Creme Cheese

I picked up DuVillage Le Triple Creme cheese at the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto. I was enticed to buy it as the price was marked down since the cheese was very near its “best before” date. I picked it up, pressed on the corner and smelled it. It wasn’t overly soft nor did it smell unpleasant. I surmised that it was not overly ripe and I bought it.

DuVillage Le Triple Cream is a cow’s milk cheese produced by DuVillage 1860 located in Warwick, Quebec, Canada. Warwick is located about half way between Montreal and Quebec City.

Warwick, Quebec

Warwick, Quebec

This cheese is well packaged. There is a lot of information on the box as well as inside. On the side of the package it is says “Discover when the taste is right for you. Details Inside”.

DuVillage Le Triple Cream Cheese side of the box

DuVillage Le Triple Cream Cheese – side of the box

Now that is a great teaser. But while I was standing in the market holding the box I wanted the information that was hidden inside. Since I ended up buying the cheese I can save you the frustration. This is what it says inside.

DuVillage Le Triple Cream Cheese info inside the box

DuVillage Le Triple Cream Cheese info inside the box

This triple creme goes through three phases during it’s ripening.

  • Young – 35 days or more before the “best before” date
  • Semi-Ripened – 15 to 35 days before the “best before” date
  • Fully Ripened – 0 to 15 days before the “best before” date

You get to decide which stage you prefer and buy the cheese dated accordingly. The “best before” date appears on the bottom of the box.

DuVillage Le Triple Cream Cheese bottom of package showing best before date

DuVillage Le Triple Cream Cheese bottom of package showing best before date

Unpacking this cheese involves a few steps.

DuVillage Le Triple Creme Cheese unwrapping

DuVillage Le Triple Creme Cheese unwrapping

The cardboard box protects the soft package inside.

DuVillage Le Triple Creme Cheese

DuVillage Le Triple Creme Cheese

Viola!

DuVillage Le Triple Creme Cheese unwrapped

DuVillage Le Triple Creme Cheese unwrapped

DuVillage Le Triple Creme is a surface ripened cheese. The rind is snowy white and covered with the penicillium mold that gives the cheese it’s character. Cutting the cheese in half reveals a buttery colored creamy white paste. The cheese that I had was fully ripened. It was shiny, soft and spreadable. If it had been younger then the paste likely would have been firmer, perhaps with a chalkier texture near the center.

DuVillage Le Triple Creme Cheese cut in half

DuVillage Le Triple Creme Cheese cut in half

What does DuVillage Le Triple Creme cheese taste like? It is a rich with a mild, buttery and creamy taste. The rind is edible and it is mild. The quality of this cheese is very good. It won first place in the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix in 2006 in the soft cheese category.

Were you wondering about that little 10,000 sticker on the outside of the package? That was a promotion for a contest with five prizes worth $10,000 each for a trip to the World’s Best Restaurant in Denmark. The coupon provided a web site address to enter: www.thewinningcheeses.ca. Unfortunately the contest was already closed to entry when I tried to sign up today.

DuVillage Le Triple Cream Cheese contest

DuVillage Le Triple Cream Cheese contest

There was also some information on other cheeses by DuVillage.

DuVillage Cheeses Promotion

DuVillage Cheeses Promotion

as well as a $0.75 off coupon for future cheese purchase.

DuVillage Cheese Coupon

DuVillage Cheese Coupon

That coupon will come in handy because I plan to buy some La Sauvagine after a sampling in a recent Cheese Appreciation class.

DuVillage has a good website at www.DuVillage1860.com. This cheese seems well distributed as I have seen it in several other local grocery stores.

I thought that DuVillage Le Triple Creme was very good! I recommend this cheese.

Robiola Tre Latti Cheese

Robiola Tre Latti – Italy

I picked up a wheel of Robiola Tre Latti at the Alex Farm Products Cheese store located in the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto (Ontario, Canada).

Robiola 3 Latti cheese

Robiola 3 Latti Cheese from Italy

This cheese is imported into Canada. It originates from the small town of Arona, in the province of Novara, in the Piedmont area of Northern Italy.

Province of Novara in Northern Italy

Province of Novara in Northern Italy

The small wheel of Robiola that I bought was produced by the Luigi Guffanti company. The company’s beginning dates back to 1876. They have an extensive line of cheese and they make several styles of Robiola. The term 3 Latti is Italian for three milks. This cheese is made from an equal mixture of cow’s milk, sheep’s milk and goat’s milk. There is a picture of three animals on the cheese’s label.

Robiola 3 Latti Cheese Label

Robiola 3 Latti Cheese Label

This sign was displayed at the Alex Farm Product’s cheese counter.

Robiola Cheese Sign

Robiola Cheese Sign

A Robiola cheese isn’t always made from three milks. It is often made from just cow’s milk, or goat’s milk, or the two combined. This particular Robiola takes the blending to the next level with the addition of sheep’s milk. It is a soft cheese produced in small wheels. In making this cheese the curds are hand ladled and allowed to drain naturally with no pressing. Robiola is a fresh style cheese aged as few as three days but up to three months. It ripens from the outside in. The Robiola Tre Latti cheese was wrapped in paper and had a very thin, almost non-existent rind.

I was surprised to find a  “fresh” cheese that was imported from so far away. The importers have a short window of time to get this cheese from the farm in Italy to the cheese counter in Toronto without spoilage.

This Robiola was very pale, with a buttery tinted rind and a very white paste (center).

Robiola 3 Latti Cheese from Italy

Robiola 3 Latti Cheese from Italy

What does Robila Tre Latti taste like? This is a mild cheese. It is very soft and spreadable. The equal mix of different milks is interesting. You can sense some characteristic of each milk as you taste. It carries a taste reminiscent of fresh milk.  I would say the goat milk was the dominant flavour followed by sheep with the cow’s milk along for the ride. To really appreciate this cheese I think you would need to have some taste experience with goat and sheep cheeses.

The sign at the cheese counter suggested that this cheese is earthy, mushroomy with a sour hint. I did not find it earthy or mushroomy. Those are flavors that are usually opposite fresh. The sour hint was definitely there mixed with some saltiness.

The flavor of the three milks blend together well into a delicate, mellow, easy going cheese with a smooth texture. This is a cheese to chillax with. This cheese should appeal to most palettes. It is more prone to calm than excite. This cheese is good for spreading on crackers and it would work well as a dessert cheese.

Valdeon – Spanish Blue Cheese wrapped in Leaves

Valdeon Blue Cheese – Spain

I found Valdeon cheese at the Alex Farms Cheese Stand in the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto, Canada.

Valdeon Blue Cheese

Valdeon Blue Cheese

Valdeon Blue Cheese

Valdeon Blue Cheese from Spain

Valdeon is made from a mixture of pasteurized cow’s milk (80%) and goat’s milk (20%). It comes from the small municipality of Posada de Valdeón in the Northern Province of Leon in Spain.

Posada de Valdeón in the Province of Leon, Spain

Posada de Valdeón in the Province of Leon, Spain

The milk from the animals in this region is of a very high quality due to the fertile green pastures found in the valley. High quality milk makes high quality cheese. Penicillium roqueforti is the mold responsible for the dominant flavor of this cheese.

One of the unique features of Valdeon is that it is wrapped in Sycamore leaves while it ages for 45 to 60 days. The leaves help the cheese maintain moisture as well as imparting a special earthy characteristic.

Valdeon Cheese Leaves

Valdeon Cheese Leaves

I assumed that I should not eat the leaves, so I removed them. Even with the leaves removed Valdeon is still a good looking cheese.

Valdeon Cheese with Leaves Removed

Valdeon Cheese with the Sycamore leaves removed

Valdeón was named the best blue cheese in a 2003 national competition in Spain.

What does Valdeon Cheese taste like? It is rich and creamy, a tad spicy and fairly salty. It has a taste that sticks around on the palette. The salty start dissolves into a rich earthy taste that sticks around for a long finish. This is a complex and powerful cheese. The sweet of the milk spars with the sting of the blue mold. This is a cheese you can roll around in your mouth for a while because it stays interesting. There is a lot going on.

Valdeon Blue Cheese Up Close

Valdeon Blue Cheese Up Close

Not only does it taste good but this cheese is attractive … very attractive. I might even go so far as to say it’s beautiful and artsy. Yeah that’s it … cheese art.

Valdeon Blue Cheese

Valdeon Blue Cheese

This cheese should pair well with wines made from the Gamay grape, such as Beaujolais, as well as Muscats. It would also marry well with a Port wine.

Saint Albray – The Stinky Flower Cheese

Saint Albray – France

Saint Albray is a “stinky” cheese imported into Canada from France. I found this cheese at my local Loblaws in Mississauga, Ontario.

Saint Albray Cheese

Saint Albray Cheese

It is produced in the Viscounty of Béarn in France by Group Bongrain.

Viscounty of Béarn, France

Viscounty of Béarn, France

It was invented and brought to market in 1976. It is made from pasteurized cow’s milk. The cheese is formed into a flower arrangement. Each wedge forms a pedal and there is a hole in the middle. This arrangement does not have anything to do with taste, but it is a clever marketing idea, being unique and eye catching.

Saint Albray Wheel

Saint Albray Cheese – It looks like a flower

The cows that produce the milk for this cheese are “Blonde des Pyrenees”.

This is a mixed washed rind cheese. The orange color of the rind comes from a bacteria called brevibacterium linens often shortened to b-linens. The rind is washed at the beginning of the ripening period, then left to continue ripening and develop a stinky funky rind. The b-linens is the same bacterium found on human skin and responsible for “foot odor”. So guess what. This cheese has an odor similar to “dirty socks”. Not quite as bad as my kid’s hockey bag. But you get the idea. It stinks.

What does St. Albray cheese taste like? This is not a cheese for the cheese newbie. This cheese has a combination of barnyard and ammonia smell. It tastes milder, and better, than it smells. The paste (inside) is soft, mild with eyes (little air pockets). The consistency is interesting … somewhere between firm and runny. The rind is edible. If you find the flavor too strong then avoid the rind and enjoy the paste.

Saint Albray Cheese

Saint Albray Cheese – from France

I have a friend who likes this cheese a lot. It’s one of his favorites. In fact he introduced me to it. The first time I tried Saint Albray I couldn’t decide if I liked it or not. It smelled so bad. The taste was such a pleasant surprise. I found the ammonia off putting, then I came to terms with it. Then I liked it. It was a cheese tasting roller coaster ride. When the tasting was over I wiped the sweat from my brow and proclaimed – “Wow that was fun!  Let’s go again”.

My advice is to avoid storing this cheese. It will really stink up a refrigerator. Just bring it home, let it come to room temperature and and then enjoy it. It pairs well with Fig spread.

Cheese Book Review – It’s Not You It’s Brie

It's Not You It's Brie by Kirstin Jackson

It’s Not You It’s Brie by Kirstin Jackson

This is a new cheese book that was just released on November 6, 2012.

I have been reading Kirstin Jackson’s blog It’s Not You It’s Brie for several years. When I discovered that she had published a cheese book I rushed to Amazon.com and purchased the Kindle edition for my Holiday reading pleasure.

This book is an exploration of 50 American cheeses. Each cheese has a history and a story behind it. Kirstin interviewed the cheese makers to gain insight into the why and how of each cheese. It is an easy read.

She methodically describes each cheese and the place where it is made. She explores the cheese makers and their inspiration for their cheeses. Kirsten provides several wine or beer pairing suggestions for each of the featured cheese. She ends each study by suggesting a few alternative cheeses, similar to the featured cheese, just in case the featured cheese is not available locally to the reader. Following each chapter is a cheese recipe intended to showcase a cheese that she has explored in the chapter.

The best part of the book is Kirsten’s heavy use of entertaining analogies. The book is full of them. It’s a writing style that I enjoy reading. By example, the first sentence of the book’s introduction states “American cheese has more styles than the Pope has gilded robes in his Vatican armoire”.  She says of fresh cheese – “Like a Tween with access to their parents’ Playboy channel, fresh cheeses need constant supervision”.  In describing France’s Loire Valley’s influence on American goat cheese she says – “It’s what Nashville, Tennessee it to country music or what Victoria’s Secret is to people with a penchant for push-ups”. Her writing style adds a little fun and still drives the point home.

If you are a foodie, or cheese passionate, then this book will satiate some of your cheese curiosity. If you read the book you will be rewarded with a better understanding of cheese styles. You will be left with some cheeses that you will want to try. It will make your next trip to the cheese counter more pleasurable.

There was only one disappointment for me … there were no Canadian cheeses referenced. None. But that is understandable. Based on the book’s subtitle “Unwrapping America’s Unique Culture of Cheese”, Kirstin has delivered.

Pule Donkey Cheese – Setting the Record Straight

So what is Donkey cheese? Is it any good?

Donkey cheese is called Pule, which means “foal” in Serbo-Croatian. It was brought to market for the first time in September 2012 at the annual cheese show in Frome, Somerset, England. Pule is the brainchild of Slobodan Simic. He supplies the milk from his donkeys to Stevo Marinkovic, a cheesemaker at Beocapra located in the Republic of Serbia. That is where the Donkey cheese is made.

Pule Donkey Cheese

Pule Donkey Cheese

Donkey cheese is new, rare and expensive. It is even more expensive than Moose cheese. It is the world’s most expensive cheese according to the World Record Academy website. Donkey cheese goes for $576 a pound (wholesale) and up to $2900 a pound (retail).

I first learned of Donkey cheese on Dec 10th when I came across the online article “Novak Djokovic is buying the world’s entire supply of donkey cheese” . I was intrigued.

Who is Novak Djokovic? He is the worlds #1 ATP ranked tennis player. He is … famous.

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic – photo from Google Images

The story of Novak buying up all the Donkey cheese was a great story and it quickly went viral around the world. That was a few weeks ago. Now the dust has settled, the excitement has passed and I have gathered the facts about Donkey Cheese.

Does Donkey Cheese really exist? – Yes.

Did Novak Djokovic buy it all? – No. In fact he bought NONE.

It was all hype, according to an article published by New York Times on December 19th. The Serbian producer of the Donkey Cheese had left a sample of his Pule cheese at a restaurant owned by Novak Djokovic in Belgrade. Evidently the message with the cheese sample was … If you want to buy it all, we’ll sell it to you. Through some genius(?) marketing, the proposal was twisted, exagerated and embellished into an international news story that Novak had bought it all. Not so. It was much ado about nothing. It did, however, launch a global awareness of the existence of Donkey Cheese.

Maybe there is some brain enhancing benefit to Donkey cheese. There is some brilliance in a Serbian Donkey farmer figuring out a way to get his cheese story all the way to Canada, in less than 90 days from launch, compliments of free media. If I get the chance, I’ll try the cheese. Maybe I can come up with a brilliant way to get the Serbians to read my blog.

Castello Alps Selection – Chiantino Cheese

Castello Alps Selection Chiantino Cheese

Castello Alps Selection Chiantino Cheese

I was recently invited to try Castello’s new Bavarian Alps Selection Cheeses. As I am easily seduced by new cheeses, I headed to my local Longo’s Market (at 3163 Winston Churchill Blvd, Mississauga, ON) to do some cheese shopping.  There I discovered Chiantino and Weissbeir, two of the four cheeses in Castello’s new Alps Selection. I decided to try the Chiantino.

Castelllo Chiantino Cheese

Castelllo Chiantino Cheese

Castello describes their Chiantino cheese as follows:

Chiantino: A mild and slightly sweet cheese with hints of dark chocolate, fruitiness and dryness of Chianti. It is perfect as a snack with olives or baked figs, and is great for melting recipes or with green asparagus.

This cheese is imported into Canada. It is a product of Germany.

Chiantino is a cow’s milk cheese with a wonderful deep red rind. At first, my children thought the red was a wax coating. They had seen wax on Gouda cheeses that we have tried. I explained that the red on Chiantino is from Chianti wine which is wiped on the cheese every few days as it ages. This cheese is aged 12 weeks.  The use of the Italian Chianti wine used in making this cheese explains the name … Chiantino.

The rind is attractive but Castello does not suggest eating it. Eating small quantities certainly won’t cause any harm, but the recommendation is to use this rind for flavouring in soups and sauces.  Then discard the rind, like a bay leaf, prior to eating.
The rind can be frozen and used later.

Castello Chiantino Cheese

Castello Chiantino Cheese

What does Castello Chiantino taste like? You might expect this cheese to have a strong wine taste.  It does not. The hint of grapes or wine is very, very subtle. It has a semi-firm paste (the inside). It is mildly sweet with a mellow alpine dairy goodness.  There is no bite or tang.  The red wine rind is the highlight of this cheese. It’s a beautiful accent that dresses the cheese up and makes it look … sophisticated. The cheese is smooth, not grainy and it will melt in your mouth.

Admittedly, I seem to like most cheeses that I try. So I decided to have my wife and two kids try it. The result? Everybody liked it. That usually does not happen. It means Chiantino is probably a cheese that most people would enjoy. I did.

Full Disclosure: I picked this cheese up at Longo’s but Castello paid the bill for me.