"That's it! Cheese! We'll go somewhere where there's cheese!"
~Wallace, in "A Grand Day Out"
Inspired by a never-before-seen cheese from Formaggio Kitchen in Cambridge, I though I'd start a new thread where we can post any interesting cheese finds we make in the Boston area, or at least share our old favorites...
After our first taste of the season of Formaggio's sidewalk BBQ this past weekend (go early, we waited in line 1 hr!), of course we had to pick up some cheese and a baguette to go. I was immediate attracted to a dramatic, very deflated looking, black & blue ash-covered cheese in the display case that I had never seen before, called Nerina. I love runny, barnyardy cheeses, which this promised to be, and after a little spoonful, I couldn't resist buying one to take home ($16.95).
Nerina ("little black one") from Caseificio dell'Alta Langa (http://www.caseificioaltalanga.it), who also make La Tur, is an unusual soft-ripened 100% goat's milk (pasteurized) Robiola from Piedmont.
From a little Internet research, apparently Nerina is typically consumed very young (and you can see a plump firm looking round on their website), but interestingly Formaggio's Nerina seem to have been much more well aged, yielding an amazing texture, ranging from clotted cream at the edges, to a thick pudding further in, and finally a light and creamy center with no pasty chèvre texture remaining.
Are these examples over-ripened? I don't know, but I didn't catch a whiff of ammonia and this was one of the runniest cheeses I've ever eaten. But I've had good luck in the past aging cheeses well past their recommended limits and creating something new and different (like a Milleens I aged for 4 months into a frighteningly intense masterpiece).
Nerina had a lovely aroma of barnyard funk and mushrooms that was matched by a flavor that was strong enough to render irrelevant the crispy baguette slices we liberally spooned it on (normally I prefer to enjoy cheeses without any bread or crackers that might cover up their flavor).
If you like runny, gooey, barnyardy cheeses, check it out.