Robiola di Roccaverano- A cheese & leaf love
If Martha Stewart ever got a hold of a Robiola di Roccaverano, I'm pretty sure she'd mandate every cheese be wrapped in leaves before being served in her presence. This leaf-on-cheese action is cuter than a toddler walking a puppy. It's more adorable than Zooey Deschanel watching a toddler walk a puppy. It proves that leaves and cheese are made to be together.
Leaves are the perfect aging utensil. They make a delicate rind. They enhance flavors gently. And, as Martha would approve of, leaves are nature's perfect cheese wrapper. Best of all, when wrapped around a cheese, they make you feel like you're about to go on a long back-packing trip accross the Piedmont hills.
Even better than best of all? The likelihood that you'll find a leaf-wrapped Robiola near you is high. They come in all leafs from cabbage to chestnut.
This particular above beauty, Robiola di Roccaverano, is made in the Piedmont foothills. Some are mixed milk, but the one in the shot above is pure goat's milk. After the cheese is made, it's wrapped in chestnut leaves and left to mature. Underneath the leaf, a light rind typical of a Robiola forms- thin, ripply, white and golden- that's inspired by the loose leaf wrapping and the Geotrichum Candidum mold that's added to the milk after pasteurization. The flavors range greatly. When first made, it tastes lively and lemony. As the cheese ages, it picks up a lightly funky bite that says, "I came from a goat, and I am proud."
I love serving this style of cheese at parties, because even when cut in half (and that's how I often buy it, as some are a little pricey) the leaf is all the adornment this little cheese needs to make a plate pretty.
When putting the Robiola out to eat, keep the leaves on- let guests peel them back, it feels more like a party. Serve with dried or fresh fruit- dried cherries, figs, sliced prunes, or fresh figs or apples and a crusty, hearty bread. Added bonus, put a small dish of honey out for guests to drizzle over the cheese.
Other leaf-wrapped Robiolas to try:
What's your favorite leaf wrapped cheese or Robiola?
Lastly, if you're in the bay area, I'd love to see you at an upcoming class!