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.

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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.

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.

Canada Cheese served on Canadian Trees

Experiencing and enjoying cheese involves more than taste and texture. There are the additional elements of time, place, accompanying foods, presentation and people. When all of these elements meld together perfectly the result is … cheese nirvana.

Today I am focused on the element of presentation after learning of Bill Major, a Canadian cheese board artist. Bill resides on the edge of Lake Simcoe in Ontario, Canada. He has a love for wood and woodcraft in a way similar to cheese makers. He takes a raw material (wood instead of milk) and creates something special. He has chosen to create cheese boards to satisfy his artistic passion.

Bill Major and his Rustic Live Edge Cheese Boards

Bill Major and his Rustic Live Edge Cheese Boards

Bill produces “live edge” cheese boards. These are basically slices of a tree trunk, bark and all. By cutting the tree this way it’s growth rings are exposed. Each ring represents one year of the tree’s life. You can determine the tree’s age, when it was harvested, by counting the number of rings.

Bill developed a special three month drying process to prevent the wood from cracking as it loses moisture. The boards are then sanded in preparation of the finishing process. In the same way that a cheese maker must tend to a cheese as it ages, Bill works the cheese board through a ten step finishing system. It is done by hand and it takes a week. The end result is a beautiful rustic functional cheese board that is moisture resistant and food safe.

I appreciate a good Canadian cheese and I think the appreciation is elevated when that cheese is presented on a nice wood cheese board … especially a cheese board made in Canada, from a Canadian tree, by an artist.

Live Edge Cheese Board by Bill Major

Live Edge Cheese Board by Bill Major

Bill has his cheese boards displayed at several retail locations which are listed on his website or you can email him directly at bill.major@rogers.com to purchase one.

Disclosure: I am not affiliated with this product. I just think they are nice.

Castello Reserve Aged Havarti Cheese Review

Castello Havarti Aged Reserve Cheese

Castello Havarti Aged Reserve Cheese

I found Castello Reserve Aged Havarti cheese at Starsky’s Market in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. I always considered Havarti to be a sandwich cheese so I was intrigued by the fact that it was aged. The word “Reserve” usually means something special so I figured this was something I needed to experience.

The front label had the following description: “This matured and full bodied Havarti is studded with crystals that rouse the senses”. Say no more … who doesn’t want to have their senses aroused? I certainly do.

Castello Havarti Reserve Cheese Back Label

Castello Havarti Reserve Cheese Back Label

The back label says “Originally from Denmark, this fresh tasting cheese has been aged to become full-bodied and flavoursome.”  I am a little confused about the”fresh tasting vs. aged and full-bodied”. Those two terms mean opposite things to me and I was not quite sure what to expect.

At the bottom of the label is a tiny instruction “Open here”. I was thinking to myself that the wrapper would peel right open, like a Laughing Cow cheese pack. But not so. I pulled the tab only to reveal a second secret label. Very interesting.

Castello Havarti Reserve Cheese Secret Label

Castello Havarti Reserve Cheese Secret Label

Printed on the secret label is the following: “Castello Reserve Aged Havarti is a Danish matured hard cheese. This fresh tasting cheese has been aged to become full-bodied and flavoursome. It’s studded with surprisingly salty crystals that tingle the tongue. The sweet rounded flavour gives way to a rousing crispy bite that stimulates the senses. Best nibbled on with fresh slices of apple and a glass of Merlot.”

I have to say, I still had not tried the cheese at this point but I was excited and my expectations were set to very high.

Castello Reserve Aged Havarti is not a Canadian cheese. It is made in Denmark and imported into Canada by Arla Foods Inc, Concord, Ontario. The Castello USA website pronounces this cheese as the “World’s First Aged Havarti”.

Castello Reserve Aged Havarti

Castello Reserve Aged Havarti

So what does Castello Reserve Aged Havarti taste like?

The aroma; very mild and slightly buttery.

The colour; creamy pale yellow.

The texture; although the label says that this Havarti is a hard cheese, I found it to be pretty soft at room temperature.  This is not a spreadable cheese. But is also no where nearly as hard as aged Gouda or Parmesan. It’s pretty easy to squish between your fingers.

The crystals; I really was looking forward to my tongue being aroused by exciting crystals. Disappointingly, I had one heck of a time getting any crunch or tiny salt surprise. The piece of cheese I purchased was basically void of the protein crystals.

The flavor; Even though it is aged, this is a mild cheese. Set aside all the package hype about aging and arousing crystals and you are left with a mild, tasty cheese.

Fresh vs. Aged; I thought it tasted more fresh, than aged. Havarti is normally aged three months. The Reserve is aged nine months.

So how did I like this cheese?  It is a tasty, mild and soft textured cheese. It would be good on a sandwich. I would not use this as a stand alone cheese. In fact, after few bites I decided to enjoy the rest on a Daelia’s Pumpkin Seed and Rye Biscuit. That was a good paring. That biscuit had flavour and I felt that the cheese needed something to enhance it.

Castello Reserve Aged Havarti Cheese

Castello Reserve Aged Havarti Cheese on a Daelia’s Pumpkinseed and Rye Biscuit.

Admittedly, I did not try this with the apple and Merlot as suggested by the folks at Castello.

The conclusion: A mild cheese, satisfying but not exciting, best enjoyed when paired with something flavourful.