There is an old saying that goes “age doesn’t matter, unless you’re a cheese”. Beyond its attempt to be funny, there is actually a certain truth behind such saying. Aging in cheese, sometimes called ripening, is the most important part in making cheese.
By letting the cheese to rest in carefully controlled conditions, they are able to develop the look, the texture, the flavour and even the aroma properties that make them unique. With aging, the bloom blossoms on Camembert, the holes magically turns into Swiss, and the veins burst through Gorgonzola.
As a cheese ripens, microbes and enzymes develop inside, breaking down the proteins and the milk fat into several complex combinations of amino acids, amines and fatty acids. In the end, these processes enrich the texture of the cheese as well as intensify its flavour.
In order to have their own unique characteristics, most cheeses are aged between the periods of two weeks to two or more years. In principle, the longer the cheese is aged, the firmer, sharper and more distinctive its taste and texture becomes.
Cheeses like the Stravecchio Parmigiano Reggiano for instance, are allowed to ripen for 24 to 36 months and thus its interesting nutty-fruity taste and its hard, gritty texture. The mildest cheeses such as ricotta, and cream and cottage, are eaten fresh right away and are not ripened at all.
However, some cheeses are ripened mid-range – often termed as semi-aged cheese – for about 5 to 10 weeks. And one of the best tasting semi-aged cheeses available in the market today is the Bucheron cheese.
Bucheron cheese is made from pure goat’s milk, originally a native of Loire Valley in France. Widely available and absolutely tasty, the Bucheron makes a perfect ingredient for a salad or sandwich. It has a soft, creamy centre almost the same in texture to a typical chevre (goat’s cheese), but typical this cheese is not.
What makes Bucheron unique aside from its gooey and creamy taste is that it is made in short logs and aged before it is cut into much smaller rounds. Surrounding its creamy centre is a ring of a much harder, tangier cheese that tickles your taste buds with a pretty sharpness and complexity that will surely out your typical chevre to shame.
Its interesting characteristic – the layer of gooey cheese around the large chalky core and a thin bloomy layer of mould similar to brie cheese – is due to its youth. Softly ripened cheeses age from the outside in, thus explaining its interesting centre.
Thanks to the natural magic of mould, you get two cheeses in one block: a creamy, mushroomy centre with a dry and clay-like and mildly tangy fresh goat milk cheese at the crust. Go ahead and try Bucheron Cheese today! Pair it with Bordeaux’s or any dry whites and sink slowly into heaven
Keep being ewenique!