Monday, August 31, 2009

La Maison du Fromage


Bleu d'Aoste


When one enters in a cheese chop what is the most striking thing is the smell.
I love cheese, and i will never understand those people that define "stink" as that wonderful aroma from cheese.
It can be said that from smell, even before sight, one can distinguish a french cheese shop from an italian one. In fact, the french prefer smooth goat cheese, while Italians prefer those hard or half-hard ones made out of sheep or cow milk. In France the fragrance is more sweet and hints more of milk. In Italy a scent of a cellar, mold and hay prevails.

But here at La Maison du Fromage at La Thuile (Ao) there is a different perfume. Most part of proposed cheeses is locally produced, but they also have something coming from France and other parts of Italy. Also some longer-aged cheeses are displayed. The final result, therefore, is a right mixture of scents from different cultures.

Obviously Fontina cheese from this area lords over it.
The fontina cheese i used to know before was the product that usually is commonly sold in stores, and i judged it a cheese a little "banal". Elastic, a little spicy but without a remarkable personality.
Here at La Maison, instead, they proposed an aged Fontina that didn't look at all like the one i used to know, neither for the color (yellowish to browinsh, with irregular crust covered with dark molds), nor for the texture (half-hard, buttery and not elastic at all), or for the smell (bitter, strong and pungent), and for the taste (direct, bitter and spicy hot, with a note of almonds). After a small taste i was convinced to get a good slice.
We also bought a slice of Bleu d'Aoste (with wonderful veins of blue molds, consistent, buttery and spicey), and a couple of cheeses that i didn't know: the Grotta (harder and more aged, crumbly, strong taste), and the Capriolo (fresh smooth cheese made out of goat and cow milk, intense and spicey flavor).

At La Maison there are also other food products. We bought some Arnad lard and some fresh milk. A free white chocolate bar was offered.

La Maison du Fromage
via Collomb, 10
11016 - La Thuile (Ao)


farfalle1 said...

Yum! Gorgeous cheeses. When I grew up we used the term 'stinky cheeses,' not as a pejorative, but as a description of strength. But in the US we did not have the wealth and variety of cheese that exists here in Italy - our loss for sure. A French 'bleu' was about as exotic as it got, and a Roquefort was the Queen of Stinky Cheeses.

dario said...

;-) also in Italy there are a lot of people that do not like strong cheeses.
The fact is that there is a tendence in taste homologation, which is the effect (or the cause?) of loosing our ancestors' culture.
Commercialism teach us that unflavored food is better, so we are no more accustomed to strong flavors.