Testun di Barolo For the lonely goat-herder
- Producer - Occelli
- Origin - Italy
- Milk Type - Cow
- Ageing - 8 Months
The Piemonte region of Italy takes its food and wine very, very seriously. Literally meaning foot of the mountains the region lies at the base of the Alps and its cold climate ensures that food is more than just sustenance, it is literally fuel to keep the internal fires burning through their bitterly cold winters.
Now just imagine that you are a lonely goat-herder living in a small stone farm in the middle of these foothills. It’s cold, it’s dark, you head out at the crack of dawn to tend your animals, with nothing more than the thought of a delicious piece of bread and cheese at the end of your exhausting day to keep you warm. As night falls you drag your tired body back to the farm, light a fire, go to your larder only to find that some bastard has slipped in and stolen your cheese.
The moral of the story is that every lonely goat-herder needs a place to hide their cheese. In the case of the Piemontese that place was inside their barrel of precious Barolo wine. And according to legend that is why every piece of Testun di Barolo is drenched in the thick must (grape-skins) of the classic wine, which seeps into the cheese and gives it its incredible depth of flavour.
The outside of this cheese looks like the bottom of a vat of grapes at the end of vintage, complete with skins and even bits of stalk. The rich purple hues contrast entirely with the pale, creamy interior. The taste and texture is almost like a classic Wensleydale, solid, yet smooth with a generous crumble. The rich flavours of vintage wine permeate the entire cheese, giving it a warm, earthy, vinous flavour. Wine and cheese wrapped up in one gorgeous, delicious parcel, what’s not to love?
FACT OF THE DAY
The word testun actually means hard-headed in local Piemontese dialect… it seems appropriate!
• Belgiun Fruit Beers
• Rustic Bread, Peasant Style