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La Casera Robiola di capra in foglie di fico vs. Occelli in foglie di castagno [Piemonte, Italy]

Melanie Wong | Oct 14, 201310:40 PM

Another dinner guest on Saturday brought a pair of interesting Italian cheeses, both leaf-wrapped and Piemontese. They were purchased at The Pasta Shop in Berkeley, CA.

The one on the lower left in the uploaded photo is La Casera Robiola di capra in foglie di fico. So delicate and silky yet very characterful too. The texture was more like the sticky character of well aged brie rather than the slipperiness of soft ripened goat cheese. Our example was fully runny with no chalky middle. I liked it so much, I found myself poking around in the crevices of the leaves to scrape off every little bit. This was lovely with a beautifully balanced Pinot Bianco that aged to graceful old bones with some fleshy breadth too and a lilting finish.

The second cheese, Occelli in foglie di castagno, was cow and sheep's milk (though it can also be made of goat's milk at different times of the year and in varying proportions), hard, and aged. This was brittle and crumbly, and I wondered if it might be considered a grating cheese. Astringent around the brown stains where the surface of the cheese touched the leaves and quite salty, I had a difficult time appreciating this one. The flavor was quite gamey and powerful, and the white wine I was drinking at the time might not have been up to the challenge. I've had Testun al barolo from the same producer that I adored. The recommended pairing is dark craft beef, maybe that's when it would shine. I doubt I'd pay the $40/lb for it myself.

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