If you’re lucky enough to be in Bra this weekend for the embarrassingly bountiful display of cheeses from around the world, we offer some suggestions to make your way around the market. If not, come on a virtual tour of Bra through ten cheeses and their producers.
1. The Chimney
Condor’s Ruin, USA
Producer: Many Fold Farm
Named after the dairy just a stone’s throw from where it’s produced, Tim Gaddis, director of cheese house operations explained that this ash-covered chimney-shaped cheese is not just “pretty”, but also “represents us.” Having taken its characteristic shape from the dairy’s symbolic fireplace, Many Fold Farm isn’t actually licensed to sell cheese in Europe, so visitors to the stand will be happy to hear they are literally this giving away this sheep’s milk cheese.
2. The Truffle
Belper Knolle, Switzerland
As producer Mike Glauser explained, this cheese was actually invented by accident by his uncle, Peter Glauser 10 years ago. He’d forgotten about a few batches of cream cheese and when he found them a year later, they had air dried and hardened. “In his generation, they didn’t waste food, so he thought ‘what can I do with this?’ and Belper Knolle was born!” The cheese is seasoned with rock salt and garlic and coated in black pepper. Air drying concentrates its flavors, so it can be used as a seasoning, shaved like a truffle on top of pasta, risotto, gnocchi or soups.
3. The Pink Cheese
Producer: Mary Holbrook
According to Miranda Bubb-Humpfreys of Neal’s Yard Dairy, “this cheese stands out because it’s very pretty, pink and plump.” This raw goat’s milk cheese owes it color to the use of cardoon stamens as a coagulant.
4. Experimental Cheese
Pecorino Toscano, Italy
Producer: Gian Carlo Canti
If you like flavored cheeses this one will not disappoint! Hickory leaves, wheat, hay, juniper or ash are all used to flavor the milk with which the cheese is produced, and sometimes pear, fig, grappa or Chianti.
5. Cheese in Cloth
Producer: Cortes de Muar
This raw cow’s milk cheese typical to Galicia is aged in butter cream and covered in muslin cloth. During the aging process the butter cream becomes slightly rancid and imparts a piquant, sharp taste to the cheese.
6. The High Cheese
“Our company is two crazy kids who started this business to keep small-scale production and family farms alive in our area, close to Bern,” said cheesemaker Mike Glauser. “This semi-hard, raw cow’s milk cheese contains roasted hemp seeds, which creates a really funky, crazy play on texture contrast.”
7. The Wedding Cake
Producer: Roberto Grattone
Have you ever seen a cheese that looks like a wedding cake? Leonardo da Vinci selected this cheese to be served during the extravagant wedding between Isabella of Aragon and Gian Galeazzo Sforza at the end of the 15th century!
8. The Perfect Circle
Pallone di Gravina, Italy
Producer: Nicola Derosa
Perfectly round for the purpose of tying during transit and hanging them in caves for aging, eat it with fig jam or with quince jam: you won’t regret, promises Nicola Derosa!
9. Brown and Sticky
Crotte de marquise, France
Producer: Huges Lataste
Producer Marayn de Bartassac confessed that the shape of this curious-looking cheese was inspired by excrement once produced by a French Marquess. Made by hand, this cow’s milk is admittedly ‘trés difficile’ to produce.
10. The Tube
Innes Log, UK
Producer: Innes Cheese
This raw goat’s milk cheese is produced every single day of the year by Innes cheesemakers in Staffordshire. The cheesemaker Joe explained how the they had tradition in mind when producing the goat’s cheese log.
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