Formaggio La Tur - A Trio of Milks
I love goat cheese, but I also enjoy cow and sheep's milk cheese and now I can have them all in this Meritage of cheese called La Tur. My friend Jack, who owns the cheese market at our local farmer's market, suggested this Italian cheese from the Piedmont area.
Looking for something spreadable on a French baguette for breakfast but a little stinky, Jack offered up this buttery, bloomy rind little cupcake of a cheese, and it was everything I was looking for. It has a creamy consistency with a little bit of tang. It would help if you let this cheese warm up to room temperature before consuming or you will lose all the flavor.
- Type: Equal parts cow, goat, and sheep milk
- Origin: Alta Langa, Piedmont, Italy
- Process: Barely ripened (10 days to two weeks)
- Texture: soft and runny near the rind, almost fluffy/mousse-like towards the center
- Shape: Short cylinder "3" x "1½"
- Weight: 8 ounces
- Color: pale cream to straw-colored
- Rind: Thin and white, wrinkling as it ages. It can have a thin coat of white mold.
- Flavor: well-rounded, mellow, grassy with a hint of mushroom
The Rest of the Story
One of the cheese makers' most important decisions regarding La Tur was to pasteurize the milk at the lowest possible temperature allowed by Italian law. This means that the enzymes present in the milk are not all killed off during the pasteurization process, and it's the enzymes that contribute to the final flavor profile of the cheese.
While many young, soft kinds of cheese are very mild in flavor, La Tur tends to be pretty complex, definitely something cheese connoisseurs appreciate.
Three Milk Types
The three kinds of milk, cow, goat, and sheep, are mixed in equal parts, and the resulting mixed curds are packed into small molds and then allowed to age for ten days. No one flavor profile dominates.
You can taste the buttery richness of cow milk, the tang of goat milk, and the mellow nuttiness of sheep milk. The three kinds of milk complement each other nicely, which is another reason La Tur has a relatively complex flavor for a young, soft cheese.
Due to the light mold that grows on the rind of the cheese, it ripens from the outside in. In a cheese, ten days old, the cheese is creamy inside the rind and fluffy towards the center. As the cheese ages, the outside layer becomes runnier and more pungent, while the center becomes creamy.
How to Enjoy La Tur Cheese
Eventually, the cheese is runny throughout. To experience the progression for yourself, buy three small, fresh wheels. (They're cute. They come in pleated doilies that look like cupcake papers). Enjoy one immediately. Save one for two or three weeks later, and then eat the last one a few weeks afterward.
As with most cheese, La Tur is best served at cool room temperature to appreciate the flavor. You can certainly serve it with a nice un-oaked red from the Piedmont region of Italy. However, the tang of the cheese is nicely set off by sweeter dessert wines.
Spread the cheese on some crusty bread. Or, if you want to gild the lily, serve it with some clover honey, roasted pears, or quince jam.