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:
Following up on my reblog of the Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery post about Geotrichum cheeses (see previous post), it seemed natural to try one of the products of their years of experimentation and development: the Torus, a couronne-style, geo-rinded pasteurized goat’s milk beauty, made in collaboration with Murray’s Cheese. As VB&C puts it, they make the “green” cheese, and then send it to Murray’s where it receives its final aging and affinage in the Murray’s caves. VB&C’s cheesemaker Adeline Druart — a graduate of the Institut Universitaire Professionel, Alimentec in France — worked on perfecting this cheese with Murray’s cavemaster Brian Ralph, developing a recipe that had the proper moisture content and cultures for the unique ecosystem below Bleecker St.
Inspired by the classic Couronne’s (translation:”crown”) of France (Rodolphe Le Meunier’s Couronne de Touraine is probably the most widely known example on this side of the pond), Torus takes its name from the geometric term for a ring-shaped primitive. VB&C actually credits Will Studd — Australian cheese expert and the man behind the excellent “Cheese Slices” TV series — for suggesting to them that they work with this format, after he had tasted a previous, un-doughnut’ed version. As I’ve learned with my own Couronne experiments, this format affects the ripening patterns, accelerating it due to greater surface area and providing a more uniform distribution of texture and ripeness. In essence, this shape creates a goat-cheese log that has been wrapped in on itself to form the ring.
the diminutive wheel, soft to the touch, has a pillowy white rind, spotted with occasional patches of blue mold, with a light touch of geo wrinkles and a mild, earthy aroma (the Geotrichum culture is known for infusing a particular earthy, musty essence). Cutting it open reveals a soft, dense, creamy interior, with an oozing creamline just under the rind. The flavor is well-balanced between sweet and salty; mushroomy and earthy, redolent of wet cave walls and stone, with herbaceous notes, reminiscent of a fine Selles-Sur-Cher (albeit without the ash layer). All in all a well-crafted cheese and a successful collaboration between two American cheese stalwarts (and not the last one, I’d expect).
Murray’s has a post about “The Story of Torus” that goes into detail on the background and development of this cheese.
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)
via the Wall Street Journal, a review of Vermont Butter & Cheese’s latest cheese, produced in partnership with Murray’s Cheese! I’m a long-time fan of donut-shaped cheeses (see my review of Rodolphe Le Meunier’s Couronne de Touraine) so I’m very interested in giving this a try:
Special occasions call for special cheese plates. So, when the people at fromage central—aka Murray’s Cheese—told us they had obtained the first domestic version of a relatively obscure French goat’s wheel and honey the consistency of marshmallow fluff, we had to taste. Société Original’s Classe Ouvrière Seashore Honey takes this season’s raw hive output and slowly whips it with some of the past season’s now-crystallized product, resulting in a scrumptious thick, white spread. It’s a perfect complement to the Torus from Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery—a couronne style, doughnut-shape cheese of yeasty flavor and uber-creaminess. Together, they’ve inspired a new favorite in my kitchen: a fancy fluffer nutter sandwich of cheese, honey and marcona almonds on toasted brioche. $36 for both, murrayscheese.com
Check out the review here.
(Photo ©2012 WSJ.com)
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!)
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.
Cremont, from Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery, a mixed milk cheese combining cows milk, goats milk and cream. Vermont B&C is the home of Allison Hooper, a respected cheese and dairy trailblazer, who also makes a mean butter from what I’ve heard (she creates a special butter solely for the restaurants of Thomas Keller, although it was recently available at Saxelby’s, $59 for 16oz). You can hear her interviewed on Episode 6 of Cutting The Curd.
This wheel of Cremont was gloriously decadent, just cresting peak, and a few hours at room temperature had it collapsing gently, the delicate rind barely holding in the molten liquid center. Scooping into it revealed a buttery, rich paste and a complex flavor befitting the mix of milks; hints of hay, hazelnut, and mushrooms, with a goaty bite and tang balanced by a milky sweetness. Murray’s describes it as closer to a robiola than a traditional french goat’s milk cheese and it did remind me somewhat of a Robiola Bosina or Roccaverano.
Purchased at the Murrays counter at Grand Central.