This month we’re celebrating wrinkles with a pairing photo contest and giveaway of Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery’s Bonne Bouche. This wrinkled goat cheese is made in the style of an aged Loire Valley goat cheese. We’ll give you three pairings of aged French goat cheeses and a food or drink and we want to to update the pairing using Bonne Bouche and whatever makes you happiest. For example, is your favorite Bonne Bouche sidekick fig jam? Do you get a little crazy and pair it with dark chocolate? What about beer or wine or even a gourmet soda? Whatever it is, we want to know.
HOW TO ENTER
- Email a JPG photo and description of your pairing to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Use the subject line OLD IS NEW
- Be specific: Don’t just say, “a dark beer” instead, tell us which specific beer you’re pairing it with
- Include your name and any social media you have (so we can give you a shoutout!)
PICK A WINNER
- Go to ourTumblr, Pinterest, or Facebook page
- Look for photos tagged #OldIsNew
- Comment, repint, or like a photo to vote for it
We’ll count your favorites and reward the top 4 with some delicious Bonne Bouche and a Wrinkles are Sexy button. Want more? Guess what, we have a grand prize too. One lucky winner will receive:
- One of each Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery’s aged cheeses
- A cooler bag with the VT Butter & Cheese logo for toting your favorite cheeses to a picnic or the office
- A beautiful cheese board
- A Winkles are Sexy button
- A cookbook
Need some inspiration to get started? We’ll give you the old, you give us the new! Here’s a video with the makers of Bonne Bouche:
Allison Hooper, of Vermont Butter & Cheese fame, has a great blog entry about the long tradition of Geotrichum-rinded cheeses in France, and VB&C’s many-year efforts to perfect their own versions of these quintessential cheeses. One of their recent cheeses, the Torus — check back tomorrow for my tasting — is a Couronne-shaped version that they collaborated on with Murray’s Cheese. As someone who’s been experimenting with Couronne shapes recently, using a rind that includes Geo (paired with P. Candidum), it’s an inspiring and interesting read:
If you have ever had the good fortune to find yourself at an open air market or a cremerie (cheese shop) in France’s important goat cheese regions of Provence or the Loire Valley, this photo is not foreign to you: Small and delicate wrinkled goat cheeses proudly displayed begging to be plucked out of the herd to be paired with some olives and a glass of Rose.
Such are the goat cheeses that I devoured as a student in France and made during a summer internship on a Diary farm in Brittany. There, the cheeses were all made from raw milk. they miraculously developed a uniform opaque rind that wrinkled as it aged and dried out. Geotricum is a yeast and is in the air around us. Providing just the right conditions in which geo likes to grow , we can promote its growth on the cheese to create these beautiful and iconic rinds for which many of the traditional cheeses of France are known.
Allison goes into detail on the technical challenges in creating these cheeses, and the aging spaces necessary to develop them properly:
It took three years to design, finance, and build the creamery which required sophisticated French Aging room technology to connect with the very dubious American Engineers’ design. It has taken another six years to revise the cheese technology (recipe) , the packaging, and aging rooms to have the cheese that we sell today. With help from former teachers, equipment suppliers, Adeline’s husband and cheese expert Marc Druart (another one of those French interns at the creamery) and a production team that is maniacal about quality and getting it right, Adeline managed a project fraught with challenges. Keeping the cheesemakers and sales team motivated and resilient required tenacity and a passion for making a cheese that we love and knew would succeed. We were the first in the US to make geo cheeses that had to travel to the West Coast ripening along the way. We couldn’t tell each consumer and chef that a spot of blue mold on a geo rind is okay,not harmful, and normal in France. If we were going to be the first and pioneer geo cheeses we had no choice but to reformulate and augment our aging room technology to assure a pristine cheese without mold.
Read the full post over on the VB&C blog.
(Photo ©2013 vermontcreamery.com)
When making cheese, we often worry about things like rind development, flavor, aroma, texture, and forget about the important things, like: what are the angles, degrees, vertices of your cheese? A balanced curve is essential to the distribution of flavor, and you want the ridges in the rind to be distributed approximately 10º from each —
Ok, not really. Actually, I just received an Obsessive Chef Cutting Board as an early Christmas present, and thought it would make a visually striking cheese plate for my latest batch of raw cow’s milk bloomy rind. I’m pretty happy with this wheel; the rind is thinner and more delicate than past batches, and the texture of the paste is softer and higher in moisture. I’ve tweaked, and dialed back, the amount of rind cultures used considerably, adding less p. candidum and a bit more geothrichum. The texture is also moister and softer than past batches, with a nice creaminess as it warms.
It is noticeably pungent (read: barnyardy) when first unwrapped, but that dissipates somewhat. In flavor it is mild, milky, and grassy, a little bit sour, with a subtle meatiness. I’d love to develop more of a mushroomy character, and the salt balance still needs work. But overall it feels like a solid step forward in the bloomy rind realm.
No name for this cheese yet. We’ll just call it Batch G13BL-RC.
Gowanish, developing the bloomy rind. The whiter ones on the left were made with pasteurized goat’s milk, a few days before the one’s on the right, which were made with raw goat’s milk. The recipe were identical and the rind development difference is due simply to their having had more time to age, but it will be interesting to taste the two side by side a few weeks out and observe the differences in how they age and develop in texture, flavor, aroma, etc.
Beautiful wheels of Coupole, with their wrinkly, “brainy” Geotrichum rinds, from Vermont Butter and Cheese Creamery, under the glass domes at Rubiner’s Cheesemongers in Great Barrington, MA. (Fun fact: Matt Rubiner was the first winner of the Cheesemonger’s Invitational in 2010!)
First dusting of snow (aka molds) on the Gowanish… (the round ones on the right are a separate batch, which contains no Penicilium Candidum, just Geotrichum Candidum. It’ll pick up some PC just by proximity to the other cheeses, but I’m doing a test to see how the rind develops without a dose of PC added during the make.
The latest batch of Gowanish, at around 3 weeks. I used a slightly different recipe this time around, and included Aroma B Mesophilic in the starter mix. This did change the flavor — Aroma B is often used in the making of cream cheese, and the Gowanish did have a slightly cream-cheesy tang to it. I’m not sure if it was the Aroma B (it could be, because Aroma B produces CO2, which can give the cheese a fluffier texture) but the paste also had a scattering of air pockets, I wouldnt call them eyes exactly, which might also have been due to the curds being slightly harder than ideal at scooping time so that they didnt knit together perfectly in the molds.
Overall I was pleased with the flavor; the rind was a little saltier than I like but the paste was creamy and fudgy in texture, with a creamline that was soft and oozing, but not so liquid that it just spilled out as soon as the room temperature pyramid was cut open. This was also the first time using a new milk supplier from a farm in PA, and it was extremely fresh, bright and sweet out of the bottle, which definitely came through in the cheese.
In the next batch I’m going to pull back on the Penicillium Candidum somewhat, go for more of a 1/1 Geotrichum and Penicillium. I’ll also watch the curds more hawkishly to avoid over-coagulating in the vat.
Sometimes, the cheese comes out great. And sometimes…not so much. Exhibit A: My latest batch of a “Robiola” style cheese, based on the recipe from Artisan Cheesemaking at Home.
The rind of the cheese has the trademark geotrichum brainy wrinkles to it, as well as the orange-pink hue common to Robiolas, so from the outside it didn’t look so bad. But if you’ve ever had a Robiola (and there are actually quite a few different varieties so I shouldn’t be using it as a blanket term, but imagine a Robiola Bosina and you can see what I was hoping for), you’ll know that it is generally soft and bordering on custardy on the inside, similar in texture to a Taleggio. Indeed, the recipe said that at 3-4 weeks it would be “very ripe, and barely contained by the thin rind”. Sadly, as I suspected as I inspected the wheels during their daily turns and gave them a light squeeze with my fingers, the inside just never went soft, maintaining a hard consistency even as the rind ripened and wrinkled around it. I inserted a tryer at 3 weeks (you can see the scars from that running through the middle) and had my fears confirmed, but kept the wheel in the fridge for a while longer, in the hopes that additional time would engender the desired transformation.
As the pictures show, however, there was no such magical change. On cutting the wheel open, I found a thin layer of custardy paste just under the rind, but beyond that it was hard and chalky, and not in a good way. the rind and creamline layer didn’t taste bad actually, but the hard interior was bland and sour. As the pictures show, there was also some wicked slip-skin. Needless to say, these wheels went in the trash.
So what went wrong? hard to know. The milk used was 50/50 Raw Cow/Pasteurized Goat, and I’m not sure if mixing raw and pasteurized might produced unexpected results. The recipe was for all pasteurized, so the raw milk could have thrown it off. I cut back on the Calcium Chloride called for in the recipe but perhaps should have left it out altogether.
The wheel was also taller than expected. The recipe called for a full-sized camembert mold but I had two smaller, so it’s possible the cheese ended up too thick height-wise for the salt to penetrate or for it to ripen properly.
Finally, the humidity could have been too low. I went with the leaf-wrapped variety of the recipe, substituting cheese paper for cabbage leafs, because it called for 80% humidity rather than 92-95%, but its possible that there just wasnt enough moisture in the environment for these wheels.
So, live and learn, and hopefully produce a better Robiola next time! (And just to be clear, I dont blame the recipe. Other recipes from the same book have turned out well so it’s a safe bet it’s user error in this case.)
Bonne Bouche, from the acclaimed Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery (last featured here for their Cremont), is a brilliant example of an ash-coated, geotrichum-rinded goat cheese. The crinkled, “brainy” pattern of the mold is a distinct fingerprint of Geotrichum Candidum; any time you see that you can bet that this particular mold is integral to the recipe. Despite appearances the cheese is actually served fairly young, as early as 18 days, although it can go longer for a runnier, more pungent wheel.
Bonne Bouche (translation: “Good Mouthful” in French) bears a strong resemblance to a Loire Valley goat’s milk cheese recently featured here, Selles Sur Cher, both in appearance and in flavor and character. This is not coincidental, as Allison Hooper of VB&C, early in her career, spent time in France working with traditional cheese makers in the region from which Selles Sur Cher originates.
This cheese is a wonderful tribute to her teachers back in the Loire; mildly pungent, the aroma hinting at wet caves, hay and beneficial molds, the soft, pillowy rind opens up to reveal a delicate, buttery, velvety paste with a sweet, grassy, lemony flavor, mild and bright with a wonderful milky tang.
The latest shipment from New England Cheesemaking Supply Company. A few more chevre molds (I’m partial to the Valencay chopped-pyramid shape), some Star San food grade acid sanitizer for sterilizing equipment, and most importantly, the Geotrichum Candidum and Penicillium Candidum to get that white mold action going.