Tuesday, January 17, 2012
CHEESE TUESDAY: FROMAGERIE BERTHAUT'S LE TROU DU CRU
So I know that I said I was going to do a goat cheese for this week, and trust me, I had every intention of doing one. I even bought one. But by the time I finished my other errands, made a fool of myself at a few other stores, and lugged two armfuls of hefty bags up to my apartment, I had completely forgotten the name of the goat cheese I purchased.
Lucky for us, I only had a card on me and so had to buy a few other cheeses in order to reach their 10€ minimum. One of which, was the dainty, 60 g Trou du Cru. It was just so darn petite and adorable that I couldn't help but want to take it home. It was certainly a big expensive for what how big it was, at almost 4€ for the smallest cheese in the shop, but it came in its own little paper cup, with its own little sticker on top, as if it were all dressed up for winter. So in the bag it went and back home with me.
This cheese was invented by Fromagerie Berthaut and is one of their interpretations of an Epoisses. That doesn't really mean anything to me, but it may to you. Apparently an Epoisses is a cheese that is hand washed with a brine to encourage the right kinds of bacteria so that, after a time of maturation, it reaches the wonderful smell and flavor that is desired. The Trou du Cru is only matured for four weeks, with other types of Epoisses being left to mature for much longer, but since it is much smaller in size, it doesn't require as much time. O, the science of fromage!
The Trou du Cru is made from pasteurized cow's cheese and washed with a Burgundy Marc during it's maturation. Because it is made with pasteurized cheese, you can find it in the states and try it for yourself! The Trou du Cru is a formidable cheese, not to be underestimated just because of its size. It certainly packs a punch. Mine smelled quite strong with an air of ammonia to it, which according one of the websites I read meant that it hadn't been taken care of properly and was too old. I find this hard to believe considering that I'm in France and it's probably illegal to do this, but I really don't know. All the same, I ate it and loved it.
Unlike so many of my other favorites, this cheese, while stinky, wasn't the oozing and super soft fromage I usually go for. Yet, it still had a rich creaminess to it that made me feel decadent and happy. Texturally it was certainly not hard like a parmesan, but not soft like a brie either. It was somewhere in the middle, so that if you squeezed it, it would give a little bit but not ooze its contents all over you either. For this reason, it wasn't spreadable, but was still delicious between two pieces of bread.
This is, by far, one of the best cheeses I've had here in France. It had such a nice strong flavor but was still beautifully balanced and clean. It had all of the elements I love in a cheese, nutty, creamy, a tad sour, and with a sweet fermentation to it that brought all of it together. It was not at all bitter, so while it certainly had a strong flavor to it, I didn't find the need to eat it with bread because it didn't linger unpleasantly in my mouth after eating it.
So, while mine smelled a bit old, it certainly didn't taste like it. I'll have to go back and buy another miniature round to continue with the taste testing (and by "have to" I mean, I can't wait to). Be happy that this is one of the cheeses you can actually find in the states! It may not be easy, but it's there! Thank you Fromagerie Berthaut. They are obviously geniuses.