Francesco Rabbia – a new acquaintance

I must admit that Caseificio Francesco Rabbia was not a cheesemaker I had heard of until September this year when I suddenly came across their stand at the Terra Madre Salone del Gusto in Torino. Fortunately they were in a part of the exhibition that were not so crowded as the outdoor narrow passages with boots on both sides. Some of the Italian provinces had their own areas that were much more accessible and gave room for a chat.

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A new Mont d’Or season is upon us

Mont d’Or
Mont d’Or

So the Mont d’Or season is upon us, the cheese mongers and supermarkets alike are flooded with the cheese, and everyone with a self image of being some sort of cheese connoisseur run to shop as if there is an upcoming shortage. As with most hyped things this acts like a fad. So as the new year enters, and probably long before that – who thinks of Mont d’Or for Christmas? – It is all forgotten, even though the season lasts till early May. Most people, me included, heats it in the oven and eats it like a mini fondue. It’s probably natural. Autumn has arrived, it’s getting darker, cooler, wetter. We need a cosy atmosphere, and a warm Mont d’Or fits in handy. If you want to do the most of it, after all it is the season for red wine, do it the Burgundy way with a red Savigny-les-Beaune or Rully in the glass. A bit of bread, some charcuterie, perhaps?

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Ridderost – my breakfast favourite

Ridderost
Ridderost

I would not say it is out of character to write about Ridderost, a pasteurised cheese, but not often that happens in here. Any rule has an exception. This is a Norwegian cheese, washed rind with annatto added so the rind is very yellowish. Paste is very even and smooth, semi-firm and not like traditional washed rind cheeses that have frequent small holes scattered around. They might appear i, but are few. The cheese is sort of semi industrial, made at a small dairy, not saying there is much manual handling. I don’t think so, that there is much manual handling I mean, but I do not know. I would not say it qualifies as being artisan. The cheese was “invented” here, back in 1970, so from a historic cheese perspective it is a young cheese. The name Ridder, as it is sometimes called, means Knight. No specifications as to the milk other than it has to be cows’ and sourced from the two municipalities Vestnes, where the dairy is situated, and neighbouring Rauma, famous for Romsdalen and Trollveggen.

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Brin d’Amour from the island of Corsica

Brin d’amour
Brin d’Amour from Corsica

There is this beautiful French island Corsica south-east of Nice and south of Genova with a lot of cheese of which my absolute favourite is Brin d’Amour. A ewe’s milk cheese covered with dried local herbs. Creamy when young and firmer with some age. The paste is so beautifully white while the rind can appear anything from rather boring grey to rather colourful. A small scale, farm made raw milk cheese of course. But mind you, it has a pasteurised, more industrial cousin called Fleur de Maquis.

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