I am one of those people who constantly worries-with cause-that I am getting fat. I think about my food intake with great fervour and intensity. Committing to eat 100 cheeses over 100 days had to enter into my caloric reckoning, but I thought, “well, if it’s just a nibble” it won’t really matter. In fact, aren’t the French notoriously thin with their vast cheese eating (more than twice the North American average cheese intake.) As well, wasn’t the Atkins diet grounded on a firm foundation of cheese? Didn’t cheese with its high fat level promote satiety in a way no other food would? These are the little stories I told myself. Thus, on day 36 of a cheese I weighed myself and I note that I am up 2 pounds. Now-is this the cheese’s fault? Could a small slice of cheese every morning for 36 mornings add 2 pounds? Perhaps, or perhaps I am simply feeling like a luxurious person these days, snacking on brie and all number of bon bons to keep it company. We shall never know-but I shall feel somewhat relieved when this is over-like a medical investigator who experiments on herself, I sacrifice my fat to bring you these pithy morsels.
With that in mind let us turn our attention to today’s cow’s milk bloomy rind cheese, St. Andre-a Triple cream brie, because just plain old brie wasn’t ridiculously rich or fattening enough. In order for a cheese to be called triple cream the butterfat content must be at least 75%. That’s right, 75% fat, butter is 100% fat, so this cheese and its fatty brethren are edging into butter land. St. Andre has 130 calories an ounce, so it really will be only a nibble today, friends! It’s actually 50% richer than the average Camembert, because as everyone knows, Camembert is practically diet food (not).
Why triple creams, we might ask. Really, it’s all about texture and taste, and perhaps just a little bit of masochism. Triple cream cheeses are going to be smoother and richer. The extra heavy cream is added to the cheese during manufacture, as a sort of fat fortification-oh those French! St. Andre is described as an “intense version of Brie,” like Brie needed help, lord. Apparently the fat content of Saint-André is so outrageously high it can make a white wine taste sour and metallic-baguette and beer are suggested co-combustables. St. Andre is not AOC and is thus made and sold all around the world. Although my piece here is pasteurized, it can also be found in raw milk versions, with raw milk fans-of course-claiming its superiority. Perhaps I haven’t really emphasized this before-raw milk cheese fans really feel that pasteurized cheese doesn’t cut it-cheese is supposed to “be alive” and pasteurized cheese has been heated to death.
St Andre cheese erupted onto the cheese scene in the 1960’s at the St. André Creamery in Villefranche de Rouerque, France. It’s actually a brie made by mixing equal parts of thick sour cream and whipped sweet cream. St. Andre is often referred to as “the heavenly cheese,” I am assuming this is because eating too much will immediately clog your arteries sending you straight to heaven. My slice of St. Andre is quite tall compared to the other bloomy rind cheeses, and it’s actually a lot firmer looking than some of the other slouches-this cheese stands up proud, creamy and buttery looking under its snowy white rind. It smells quite mushroomy and not foul in the least.
Well, enough of this nonsense, here goes…
Hmmm, well it’s a
lot meltier than I had anticipated, although it kept its shape on the plate it just disappeared the second it hit my tongue-no chewing required your mouth just fills with a rich buttery taste. It reminds me of salty cream cheese, the flavour is quite mild with no notes of rot or ammonia in the least. Really, there are no notes of anything. It’s not as flavourful as I had expected-it’s extremely mild and more about the texture than anything else-honestly, I am a little underwhelmed. Eating this cheese is like sucking on a stick of butter-interesting, but what the hell is the point? I much preferred Riopelle de L’Isle-the triple cream Brie from Quebec.