Raschera is a classic semi-firm cheese from the mountains near Cuneo in northwestern Italy, famous for it’s fresh produce, world class wine, and of course, the famous Alba White Truffles! We’ve had the pleasure of visiting the area with terraced hillside vineyards, and a cuisine that you might find more French than Neapolitan. Raschera d’Alpeggio is only produced during the spring and summer months in the higher elevation Alpine (Alpeggio) dairies above 2500 feet, where the milk from local farms is gathered daily for cheese production before careful aging for 6 months in the Raschera Coop caves. Raschera d’Alpeggio is produced through transhumance, a traditional practice of moving livestock from one grazing ground to another in a seasonal cycle, typically to lowlands in winter and highlands in summer. Raschera d’Alpeggio is pale ivory in color with a soft grey rind. This soft, elastic cheese has a nutty flavor with herbal flavors of wildflowers and grasses that come from the milk produced in the upland pastures surroundingLakeRaschera. It’s a wonderful eating cheese and in Piemonte is often utilized in recipes melted atop Gnocchi and Polenta, or whisked into creamy Risotto.
Located near the shores ofLake Maggiore in the Northern Italian lakes region, La Casera sources many of our favorite cheeses of the region. This month we’re featuring Fiore di Bufala (Flower of the Buffalo), a tender and delicate fresh cheese made from the milk of water buffalo. Water Buffalo milk has become more popular in cheese making beyond the famous Mozzarella of Naples and Campania. Here at The Plus we carry a few varieties of Buffalo milk cheese and even a local brand of Buffalo milk ice cream, too! These delicious discs are aged just a few days before shipping out for Cheese Plus. The cheese is tender and high in moisture with a soft curd and tangy finish. A favorite for breakfast, salads, or toasting atop a fat slice of Ciabatta bread. Serve with a drizzle of your finest olive oil and a grind of fresh pepper alongside a delicious northern Italian Dolcetto or Nebbiolo.
Cave Aged Chandoka is a mixed milk cheese crafted with goat and cow’s milk by Katie Fuhrmann of LaClare Farm, and cellar-aged by David Rogers at Standard Market in Westmont, Illinois, where it is wrapped in linen and allowed to ripen for a minimum of six months. The result is a bold, tangy yet fruity Cheddar which took 1st Place in its category, and 2nd Place Best of Show at the American Cheese Society judging of more than 1700 cheeses last summer. We’re lucky to get our hands on this wonderful cheese, as only about 20 wheels are released each season, most going to local markets inIllinois andWisconsin, and the cheese emporiums at Eataly inNew York andChicago. We’ve previously offered the non-cave aged Chandoka before and really love the sweetness and tang from the goat milk, enriched with the golden buttery notes from the cow. This cave aged version has all of that and more, exaggerated and concentrated over time as the clothbound rind is allowed to breathe and encouraged to grow a flavorful moldy grey beard. Enjoy your cave aged Chandoka with a dark creamy Stout or Double Bock beer.
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