Caseus

“BellaVitano Gold” and the difficulty of writing well about cheese

My favorite cheese right now–the kind I get all the time for myself and my 2 year old cheese-addict son–is a kind of cheese called BellaVitano Gold.

     Since I’m new to writing about cheese, I’m not sure how to describe it other than saying it’s, “ummmmm, really good.”
     Oy! This description-thing is something I have to work on pretty hard, as it feels like everyone I know who likes cheese is better at describing it than I am.  For example, I gave a wedge of BellaVitano Gold to  the then-protein-craving-pregnant-mother of one of my son’s daycare colleagues,  and she emailed that it reminded her of “Monchego with the saltiness I love in Parmesan, and yet it is totally in a league of its own!  (nutty, salty, and very robust!)”
     Pretty accurate, and much better than I can do right now!  According to the article “Describing Cheese”  by Jennifer Meier at About.com, “Nutty” refers to cheese that’s “a little sweet, often similar to the flavor of hazelnuts.”
     I’ll go with that, adding that BellaVitano is slightly sweet…but also slightly sharp, too….
     Sigh. “Slightly sweet but also slightly sharp.”  Not the best lingo, but whatever. I plan to keep trying to learn from people who really have their cheese-words down.  People who do sound wonderful and metaphorical and mellifluous….A coworker told me how much fun he once had at Caseus,  New Haven’s cheese restaurant, where the owner Jason Sobocinski described all of the individual cheeses on a cheese plate to him.  My coworker was like, “Yeah, baby, keep using those words!” (Sobocinski also has a cookbook out called Caseus Fromagerie Bistro Cookbook: Every Cheese Has A Story and a show on The Cooking Channel called The Big Cheese. Apparently this guy really knows how to talk about cheese!  In an interview for “Guest of a Guest”  he says
 
My credo is that every cheese has a story, and that’s one of the things that really draws me to it. I’m not necessarily selling just a product; I’m selling all the things that go along with it. Legends, stories, ideas and sometimes just experiences that people have had when they go to a place and try a cheese – that to me is what eating is all about.
     I haven’t found good stories about BellaVitano Gold yet, but it’s  made by Sartori Cheese, and according to their website they also make BellaVitano cheeses infused with Balsamic, Black Pepper, Merlot, Raspberry, Chai, Espresso, and occasionally Cognac, Cannella, and Peppermint.  I’ve gotten the Gold, Merlot, and Espresso from New Haven’s Elm City Market and bought the Raspberry one at Stew Leonards  in Danbury (Stew Leonards is a crazy-huge/strange grocery store, noted by Ripley’s Believe it or Not as being the largest dairy store in the entire world.  It also also has mechanical singing cows, singing milk cartons, singing bananas, singing butter-sticks, etc. in most of its aisles.  Warning to parents of toddlers: this can either be wonderful or absolutely, utterly terrifying….)  So far I still like the Gold best, but maybe I’ll find new favorites as my palete, and vocabulary, develop.
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     Ah, here’s another description from the website “Wisconsin Cheese.” I like it.  
Inspired by traditional Italian farmstead cheese, BellaVitano® is a rich, creamy style with a nutty, fruity flavor with caramel and pineapple overtones. The flavor begins in the mouth like a premium Parmesan and finishes with hints of melted butter. The texture combines the creaminess of a young Cheddar with the savory, crystalline crunch of a premium aged Parmesan.
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