Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Faux Cheese? I think not!

I spotted this little charmer sitting quietly on the shelf at the Cheese Store of Silverlake on Sunday afternoon, a little overshadowed by all the other bloomy rinded cheeses, but just waiting for me to find it. What intrigued me was the fact that the description pointed out the interesting edge rind. While you can see the traditional white bloom on the top, the edge is supported by a thin strip of spruce wood! You can sort of see this in the photo, but I just couldn't get a good angle. Sorry.

Anyway, this support comes in handy to keep this cheese from gooping all over the place, which is kind of cool. This cheese is (gently) pasteurized cheese, which means that it can be imported to the US when it is less than 60 days old/aged. Raw milk cheeses have to wait more than 60 days to enter the US. A similar French cheese, Vacherin, can't seem to get a visa because of it's raw, under age status. Some people call l'Edel de Claron "faux Vacherin." Now, I haven't had Vacherin, but I haven't been to France since I found out about it. I can't imagine that L'Edel de Claron is "faux" anything. It is fantastic! An easy, delicate, creamy cheese with an almost buttercup yellow paste. How pretty!

It doesn't small like pine, which I was kind of expecting because of the strip of spruce around the edge. It might have a bit of tangy, woodsy edge to it, but I might be imagining that because of the the packaging. It definitely smells a bit like green fields, lemons or lemon curd, and perhaps a bit of pepper. Because the flavors are more subtle, it really kept me guessing. It's good with and without the rind. I think I actually liked it better with the rind in this case! I kept pressing it up on the roof of my mouth to try and pull the flavor out. I've got to have some more tomorrow night! It is a confident cheese, but definitely not a show off.

If you are thinking about taking a Brie to a party, but want something that actually has some flavor, give this a try. And don't think you're cheating because it isn't Vacherin. You're eating l'Edel de Claron!

Sweet dreams of trips to France to prove to yourself that your pine wrapped cheese is just as delicious as some underaged curd!

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