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.
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.
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.