“Among the flavor of the world of food, the flavor of cheese stands alone”- author unknown
This month I fell in love with a cheese. “Paglierina” cheese. A luscious cheese from the Piedmont region of Italy. For some background….In Italian, Piedi (pie) means “foot” and Montania (Monte) means “Mountains”. Thus, the name Piemonte (also known as Piedmont). This region,entirely surrounded by land, is at the foot of the Alps and borders France and Switzerland on Italy’s Northwest edge. Piedmont is surrounded by majestic Alpine peaks, hills, cities, farmland and picturesque vineyards. The rich soil in the highlands and plains is said to be ideal grazing grounds for dairy cows. This must explain the incredible taste of this cheese, indeed! Interestingly, Piemonte was part of Royalty until the middle of the 19th century during which time the French occupation was said to have left and undeniable impact on the regions cusine, characterized by the “opulence of the nobility and the simplicity of the peasant”. The cuisine I am captivated with is only one type of cheese crafted in this picturesqe city.
For those that are enamored with French cheeses like Brie and Camembert, the Paglierina cheese is similar, yet very different. Interestingly, the Italian word for straw is “Paglia”. This references the age-old artisan tradition of maturing cheese on a bed of straw lattice-work layers. The bed of straw provides a method of draining and distributing the butterfat throughout the cheese. Who knew? This certainly has to add in its palatable taste! Alas, no worries on the butterfat. This cheese is certainly worth it. Life is short. Pure taste and enjoyment of our food is vital. Of note, this cheese ripens over a period of 20 days. An artisan dedicated craft, indeed!
To describe this cheese would be to say that it is mouthwatering and distinctive. I truly became enchanted! It is heavenly with its creamy texture and buttery taste. This delicate, soft ripened cheese is made from cow’s milk and is described as having a thin natural crust with a soft, creamy consistency. The sweet aromatic taste is suggested to carry with it a slight hint of almonds. This highly fragrant cheese, when served at room temperature, is a slathering delight of flavorful gratification. “Paglierina” cheese is also described to have a ‘milky rind’, also called a “blooming rind” which gives added flavor to the cheese. A fluffy pillow, if you will, encasing a savory delicacy!
Adding a perfect pairing of wine? Sublime. It is suggested that the “Paglierina” cheese pairs well with sparkling whites or light reds. However, I believe any superb glass of wine would fair well with this phenomenal cheese. Uncork a bottle and prepare to be enchanted with the the blend of wine and the texture and taste of this stellar cheese. Add a choice selection of fresh fruit and nuts and you will have the perfect Spring time apertifs. A celebration in a moment of time. In fact, this time of the year, “Paglierina” is said to be at its best. More of a reason to search for this cheese! It is an enchanting cheese. In fact, it is simply dreamy.
Where to find this cheese in the United States if you are not near a gourmet cheese shop that carries this delicious cheese? Why, Trader Joes, of course! This Spring, Trader Joes has joined forces with cheese makers who utilize the agricultural bounty by sourcing their milk from the dairy farmers in the countryside which surrounds the facility in which the Trader Joes version is made. A bit of heaven at a moderate price, for certain!
Cheers & Enjoy!
“You have to be a romantic to invest yourself, your money and your time in cheese”
“Cheese is the most savory thing you can eat. It changes every day…so you grow with the product. You kind of bond with it”
-Colette Hatch, the “Madame de Fromage”
PS: As a side note, my married last name is “Paglialong”. Yes, “Long Straw”, indeed. The “a” at the end of our name was left off when my husband’s Italian grandfather came to the United States by way of Ellis Island. You can imagine how my interest was piqued when I stumbled across this cheese! Alas, the sound of the name “Paglierina” is certainly more beautiful!!