Cheese of the Month – May 2014

This month we have four lovely cheeses from Piedmont, Italy, three from the one producer. We have always had a great relationship with Italy in Sheridans and especially Piedmont. It was the first place outside of Ireland that we went ‘hunting’ cheeses. Seamus took a trip there only a year or two after we first set up our cheese stall and he found himself on a wonderful journey, making friends and discovering new foods like only Seamus can. We have always had more success though with foods other than cheese and with great wines of course. Apart from our Parmigiano Reggiano from Cravero and our Buffalo Mozzarella we have never been fully satisfied with our supply and have changed quite a few times down through the years.

Well we are very hopeful that two new found suppliers from Piedmont will be our partners for many years to come. The first cheese this month is Taleggio, this was one of our very popular cheeses in the late 90’s; at the same time as actual ‘sun-dried’ tomatoes were all the rage. It is such a versatile cheese, interesting enough to serve on a cheese board, delicate enough; despite its pungency, to grill and cook with, and appealing enough to be a sandwich favourite, especially with fresh tomatoes. We have recently started working with quite a small cooperative producer of gorgonzola and Taleggio; Latteria di Cameri. We are working with Cameri to get the Taleggio just at the right maturity when it reaches our customers, apart from starting with a really good cheese this is the most important factor, and the most difficult.

The other three cheeses are as I said coming from the one dairy, this time a family owned operation. The Fiandino family trace their dairy roots back over 300 years when their ancestors were Sheppards and cheese-makers in the Piedmont hills. It was the current generations’ grandfather, whom they refer to as ‘Grandfather Magno’ who marked a turning point in the ‘20s by buying the first part of the Villafalletto farmhouse, where Fattorie Fiandino is still located today. ‘Grandfather Magno’ was responsible not only for moving the family from small scale sheep farming and cheese making to more settled cattle farming and larger scale cheese and butter making but also for starting the experiments with Artichoke flower as a replacement for the traditional rennet extracted from young animals’ stomachs. This use of natural vegetarian rennet is very rare, being most prolific in Portugal and parts of eastern Spain. The Fianino family make quite a large range of cheese and we have selected three to go along with the Taleegio. Grana Kinara is as the name suggests a ‘Grana Cheese’ siliar to Parmesan, Lou Blau, a mouth watering creamy blue with a nice salty kick, Lou Bergier, a delicate raw milk tome.

Bon appetit!