Sunday, March 18, 2007

Bocconcino di pura capra

Little yummy cheese treats...mmmm, nothin' like 'em.

Every time we go to the cheese case there's intense negotiation, especially when there's goat cheese involved.

"Andante's Nocturnes are in..."

"But look at the San Marcellin. It's squishy!!"

"Well, how about this Bocconcino? We've never had it before and it feels nice and runny."

"But the San Marcellin. Look at it!"

"Well, feel this, it's squishy too."

"But you wanted another little dish."

"But feel this... It's SQUISHY!"

It goes around and around as we squeeze all the cheeses as if they were Charmin bathroom tissue.

The Bocconcino is an Italian cheese, as it turns out, from the Piedmont region from the Caseificio Alta Langhe. It was only $5, so how could you refuse a little treat? Milky pale and runny on the inside, it has a milder rind than San Marcellin, but a beautiful gentle flavor, so if you find San Marcellin too strong, this could be the cheese for you.

We also tried a little local salametto from Fra'Mani in Berkeley-- SOOO good. Really succulent, perfectly balanced, we had to forcibly stop our selves from eating the whole thing.

Fra'Mani is the brainchild of Paul Bertolli (of Chez Panisse and Oliveto fame) and you can actually order online. Well worth it!!


T.McCarthy said...

The Bocconcino I opened smelled like ammonia on the outside...I got it for 6.99$ at Mollie Stone's and there's no turning back now.

I have been resolved to wash the cheese's orange ammonia spots off and wrap it in swaddling cheese cloth.

I did a web search to find out if this cheese naturally stunk this way--I don't think it should. I'm thinking it should stink like Cammembert (or however you spell that too)


At any rate, nice to stumble on your blog!

ME said...

Ammonia.... :( I just had a discussion with Cindy of Food Migration about how so many of those gorgeous little European cheeses wind up in our markets in a sorry state.

Everyone tells me that the heavy ammonia pretty much equals "dead cheese" (it the smell of the proteins in an overripe cheese decomposing.) Some cheeses like brie can have a hint of ammonia, but still be edible. If it makes you wrinkle your nose though, it's probably pretty far gone.

I'm with you though -- I try to salvage as much as I can and eat the insides mostly...

If you can get to some good bocconcinos when they first arrive at the shop though, they're so wonderful. It's more of a barnyard smell, but like sweet grass.

Thanks for your comment, and good luck on the cheese hunt!