Day 41-Delice de Bourgogne

 

Oh great, another f*cking triple cream brie.  Honestly, I can’t wait for this sick and plump little leg of my cheese journey to be over.  Cheese after cheese of triple cream brie-I realize that this may seem like trite-but it’s seriously getting on my nerves.  I always thought that I liked this kind of cheese.  Turns out that I do.  Once a year.  At Christmas.  At someone’s party.  It’s just too much, in my humble opinion, it’s the “Turducken” of the cheese world (a turkey with a duck stuffed inside it, with a chicken stuffed inside it) yes, it can be done, but, really, should it?  There’s an obesity epidemic people, could triple cream brie be behind it?

Delice de Bourgogne sounds suspiciously like Chateau de Bourgogne, which I reviewed 2 days ago.  This was ALSO a triple cream brie that I could basically not find out much about.  “De Bourgogne’ means, “of Burgundy” which is a region in France, but this geographic connection and their high butter fat percentages are the only similarity between the two cheeses-they are not from the same maker.  Unlike Chateau de Bourgogne, this Delice de Bourgogne has a huge online presence and fan base.  Also known as “Delice” (delicious, I think, is the translation, sounds good to me) is a commercially produced pasteurized cow cheese specific to one company and one family-the Lincet Fromagerie and Lincet family.  Like all the best fromageries, this one has a website which I urge you to visit, http://www.fromagerie-lincet.net/.  Although in French, it’s got a great lay out and photos and is actually quite informative.

Apparently, there is another Delice out there- a pale imitator cheese, so eaters are urged to check that their Delice is “Lincet” Delice-luckily, mine is!  The Lincet family is a fifth generation cheese making family, so while I use the word “commercial” to describe this cheese, it’s not really fair-it’s more of an organized family affair.The company has been in production since 1957, so it’s another relatively young cheese, and a twist on brie specific only to this company.

There are some serious fans of this Delice out there on the net.  People are saying that “this is the one,” so perhaps, Delice, it’s up to you to cure me of my triple cream malaise-if anyone can do it.

My little plop of Delice de Bourgogne, is gooey and inviting looking.  It’s trapped behind a piece of plastic, and it looks unhappy-I shall unwrap it-that’s better-it wanted to breath.  This cheese looks wet, there is cheese cream all over the plastic wrap, and it’s actually glistening-it looks like it’s about to run.  The rind-although bloomy-is not the pure white I was expecting, it has an orange hue to it, and frankly, is quite pungent-more that I would expect from a triple cream brie.  This cheese smells like it’s gone out for a long slow run, then forgotten to have a shower.

Here goes…

Well, it may look like a triple cream brie, but this is a blue cheese-according to my taste buds.  Now, I actually like blue cheese, and that strong rot taste of blue, but I was certainly not expecting it in this innocuous little “triple cream” number.  The texture is completely divine, as it should be in a triple cream, basically butter mixed with whipped cream-it yields, it melts, it runs, all good, but the taste.  How in the world did they get this “blue” flavour into this cheese?  It’s a little salty and lemony-yes, but it tastes of controlled rot and just a hint of vomit.  How strange.  I wonder if it’s supposed to taste like this? So raunchy!   Actually, I rather like it.  It’s not insipid and benign, that’s for sure.  This is the bait and switch of the cheese world!  Put this one on your cheese plate to freak people out, this little brie is a blue in drag-no one would ever suspect it!

Delice, you naughty little trickster.  I ought to give you a 5 out of 5 for fooling me, but ultimately, I deduct a point for your gastronomical sleight of hand, not all eaters of cheese are as open-minded as I-eat this one with care, friends, it will bite back!

 

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Day 39-Chateau de Bourgogne

 


The history of cheese making is shrouded in myth.  We don’t actually know where the first cheese came from, who figured it out and and when.  Cheese eating and making pre-dates recorded history, so it’s a real head scratcher.  Proposed dates for the invention of cheese range from 8000-3000BC-basically when sheep were first domesticated.  I like to point out that’s a pretty massive 5000 year gap there-clearly we have no idea.  The most beloved cheese origin myth involves a nameless nomadic shepherd putting some milk in a calf or sheep’s stomach for storage, and forgetting the whole thing in a cave for a bit.  When they came back for the milk and stomach, lo and behold, the rennet left over in the stomach, and the milk, and the cave had all come together with some fortunate bacteria to make the world’ s first cheese!  I like to think of how brave-or desperate-the shepherd had to be to try that stuff out.

We have definitive evidence of cheese making from about 2000BC, found in the murals of Egyptian tombs-this cheese was probably a lot like feta, dry and crumbly and very salty.  Cheese created in Europe needed less salt to preserve, and also given the colder temperatures was a better fit for the introduction of molds and microbes-thus explaining the whole world of aged cheeses found in Europe.  Cheese making became part of a families tradition, and connected a family within a village or community, people were aligned by the cheese they made and the cheese they ate.   Charles de Gaulle famously asked, “how can you govern a country in which there are 246 kinds of cheese?”

I write this to you, fair reader, as today I am sampling yet another triple cream Brie cheese, and there’s just not that much more to say specifically about triple cream brie, other than I think it’s rather ridiculous.  To make it one takes a perfectly good brie, and then adds tons of cream to it, bringing the total fat content up to 75%.  I feel we have already established that I am getting fatter by the day writing this blog-thus I am feeling somewhat negatively about this cheese, and I haven’t even tasted it-which really isn’t fair.

Chateau de Bourgogne is a pasteurized cow triple cream brie from Bourgogne, France.It has a bloomy rind and is described as a “voluptuous” cheese-I am sure those who eat it regularly might be also described by that word. Interestingly, while researching this cheese I discovered a whole world of online “questing” involving a “quest” called “Chateau de Bourgogne” which involves slaying things such as dragons-I believe this has nothing at all to do with the cheese-so don’t be confused!  I’m actually hard pressed to find out much information about this cheese online, and I have come to the conclusion that this generally means this is a trademarked name, and an industrially produced cheese-I will be able to find pages and pages about brie, triple cream brie, but nothing specifically about this type, alas, it’s up to me and my taste buds.

My little piece of mysterious Chateau de Bourgogne triple cream brie is quite tall for a brie, the rind is appropriately bloomy
white and the paste a pale buttery white.  It’s very wet and sticky looking!  The smell is quite mild and sweet, nothing offensive here in the least (except the calories, but you can’t smell them!)

Here goes…

MMMM, melty, salty, buttery, lemony, completely smooth and yielding. The texture is sublime, it WANTS you to eat it, perhaps it is on a quest after all, not to slay dragons but to join my tongue on an adventure! The texture is really out of this world smooth and buttery, that’s the butter talking. The flavour is quite mild, with just a hint of blue cheese at the very back-it’s like eating butter that’s been left out on a hot day-maybe just a TADLY bit too long. It’s mostly safe and benign, with just a touch of foul play lingering under the taste threshold.  It’s extremely yummy, and I would choose this if wanting a triple cream brie, but I have come to the conclusion that triple cream brie just isn’t the cheese for me, I like a little more bang for my calorie buck.

Chateau de Bourgogne, I give you a 4 out of 5, this includes a deduction for not having a decent online presence that doesn’t have to do with slaying dragons, and also, being a triple cream brie, which is just too much.  It just is.

Day 37-St. Andre


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.

St. Andre, I know it’s blasphemy, but I give you a 3 out of 5 for your insipid flavour, this includes a bonus mark for divine texture.

Day 33 Riopelle de L’Isle

Making cheese takes a lot of milk and a lot of work-which explains the creation of milk and cheese communities and communes as an integral part of the artisinal cheese making story.  A classic example of this is today’s cheese, Riopelle de L’Isle, a bloomy rind cow’s milk cheese from Isle aux Grues, Quebec.  On this small island of only 156 residents 10 dairy makers have pooled their milk to create this modern-day milk co-operative.

Ile-aux-Grues (translation-Goose Island) is one of 21 islands in the St. Lawrence River.  The cows feed on local hay that grows wild on the mud flats of the river. The land is in a natural state and there are no chemicals or pesticides used.This is a relatively new cheese on the scene- it was created in 2002 and named after a renowned Québécois artist, Jean-Paul Riopelle.  Riopelle lived on the Island and loved the people there, and their cheese.  Riopelle agreed to have his artwork and name adorn this cheese (I’m just putting it out there now, that I am totally open to having a cheese named after me too, just in case you were wondering.)  One dollar from each 1.4 kg piece of this cheese sold goes towards a foundation to help with the education of the children of this island.  What other cheese also funds local children’s education and is named after an artist?  This cheese is already cool and I haven’t even tasted it.

I’m glad to be trying a relatively local soft cheese.  These cheeses don’t have a long shelf life and need to be eaten at the peak of their freshness.  If you think about the journey a soft French cheese needs to take to my stomach versus a soft Quebec cheese, there is a lot less jet fuel involved.  Transportation costs of cheese does for the most part explain some of the huge costs associated with buying cheese (just ask my pocket-book)  The soft cheeses and fresh cheeses need to be flown here and they are heavy.  The big hard cheeses make the voyage over the Atlantic in big ships-again, heavy cheese, heavy price, so it is nice to try to stay local if possible .

Riopelle cheese is soft and is not pressed. The whey drains from the curds by using gravity and  turning the cheese regularly. This cheese is aged for only 60 days and is the soft-cheese champion of the 2004 Canadian Cheese Grand Prix. It has a bloomy rind a very creamy looking interior of the triple cream cheeses.  I just brought it to my nose and got a strong hit of ammonia-kind of like a yummy cat box…I can’t wait any longer.

Here goes…

Wow, this is freaking fantastic! The texture is unbelievably creamy and oozy, it’s almost eating you as you are eating it-it just melts all over your tongue and teeth rather intimately. The interior of the cheese is very mild, salty and mushroomy-it’s the rind that’s the ammonia kicker-if you don’t enjoy that taste (and who wouldn’t) just avoid the rind, and it’s a totally creamy and luxurious ride.  If you like that little kick in the derriere then eat that rind-actually, as I have another bite I realize the rind tastes like acetone smells, and I actually LOVE the smell of acetone.  My grandfather used to build fibreglass boats, and the rind of this cheese tastes like his boat making shop used to smell, isn’t that weird?  Weird but good.

Riopelle de L’Isle, you get a 5 out of 5, you will definitely end up on my cheese plate in the future.  If you are looking for a super creamy brie type cheese with a strong rind option and a social conscience to boot, go out and get this cheese.

Day 32-Brillat Savarin

 
Yesterday I sampled and was somewhat traumatized by the older twin of this cheese, Pierre Robert, a Brillat Savarin that was sent back to the cave to “age” for a bit too long-in my humble opinion.  Thus, it is with some trepidation that I consider today’s cheese, the unripened version.

Naming your cheese after the most famous gastronome of all times is a lofty move-Jean Anthelme Brillat Savarin (1755-1826) was a French epicure-also a politician and lawyer.  He is the father of the gastronomic essay, and thus, I follow-humbly-many decades later, in his cheesey footsteps.

His most noted work, Physiologie du goût (The Physiology of Taste)- was published in December 1825-and has not been out of print since-wow! His essays on food analyzed the pleasure of food in what he considered a scientific manner-breaking down the elements of taste, step by step.  I first heard his name while watching Iron Chef, Chairman Kaga always begins with this quote by Brillat Savarin, “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.”  Well, Mr. Brillat Savarin, if that is true, then I am cheese, my friend.  Brillat Savarin also deeply loved cheese and stated, “A desert without cheese is like a beautiful woman with only one eye.”

Brillat-Savarin is a soft brie-like cow cheese-triple cream- made from pasteurized milk in the Bourgogne area of France.  It has  at least 75% fat (I suspect I will not be any thinner when these 100 days are over, and I hope you appreciate the sacrifices I am making).  It is produced all year round and comes in 12-13 cm wheels.  Brillat Savarin is aged for one to two weeks. It is also available as a fresh cheese which has not been ripened at all-and I suspect that my little slice may be that cheese as the wrapper states “fresh rind, unripened.”One online source said the rule of thumb for this cheese is “the younger the better,” which leads me to ask-then-why in the world did we stick it back in the cave to create yesterdays hot mess?

My little chunk of Brillat Savarin-potentially the unripened version-looks like a little plop of cream cheese.  I c

an’t see any rind whatsoever and it is perfectly white.  It’s a pungent little cheese-I can smell it a foot away AND I have a head cold, so that’s significant.  It smells like red wine to me-which is weird-I have no idea why.

Here goes…

The texture is delectable-it is like a cream cheese-no chewing required.  It’s a little less “wet” that Pierre Robert which melted before it even reached your mouth, but is clearly buttery and melty.  The flavour is quite lemony and salty-it’s like a lemon cheesecake where someone put in salt by mistake-instead of sugar.  In fact, that’s EXACTLY what this tastes like-salty lemon cheesecake.There is no hint of nastiness, ammonia or rot in the least, it’s utterly and butterly benign.  I quite like this cheese, and would definitely buy it to smear on something crusty if I were feeling indulgent-luckily, I often am!  I recommend keeping this little darling out of the cave, we are all a lot happier that way.

Brillat Savarin, I give you a 4 out of 5 for restoring my faith in your kind-this includes a small deduction for tasting like a cheesecake error.