Raw milk and Fenugreek
Combinations to drink or eat with the tasty hints of Herbarius, one of the little cheeses from Eggemoa that conquered us
⏱ 4 MINUTES READING
IN THE PLATE
Let’s start this year with some fresh air, some perfume I would say: that of the mountains that surround Eggemoa’s dairy and the one of fenugreek.
This trip begins with one of theirs native cheeses, the Herbarius. This little cheese from Micheal Steiner is washed on the rind and made with raw milk from cows of Bruna Alpina breed. Aged for 6 weeks with rind washing by time to time it is finally refined with fenugreek, an herb typically used for bread production in Trentino.
The result is a sweet, fondent cheese with the unique note of fenugreek.
If we push our look over the Alps, towards north-west, we would notice in winter times many melting cheeses. On bread, vegetable or in a pot waiting for someone to sink a spoon in.
By reaching the Normandy area we could learn and borrow a recipe, the one of Camembert rôti: unwrap the Herbarius, make some vertical incision with the edge of a knife and let some honey leak in. You don’t need herbs like rosemary because fenugreek is totally capable of doing its aromatic job itself. So make an aluminum foil crown and place the cheese in the preheated 200°C oven for 12/15 minutes, until it’ll be melting-looking.
That’s it! Place it in the middle of the table and share.
PRUNS, TEROLDEGO WINE AND RED RADISH CHUTNEY
To have instead a pure pairing, this nice chutney can help you: the warm notes of the wine both for perfume and flavour, will be the first taste. Then the buttery side of the cheese will mix perfectly everything, triggering also the prune note which will make you enjoy the contrast with fenugreek.
At some point the cheese may prevail so keep close a nice glass of wine to keep it sit.
Careful not to confuse it with the very well-known mostarda. Italian mostarda is a technique/recipe coming from North of Italy which consist a mixture of candied fruit or vegetable and syrup with a sugar percentage of 50-60% and lemon juice, with the addition of mustard essential oil.
Paired with Herbarius this is a full bite which creates palatability. The spicy notes don’t cover the cheese taste, which on the contrary will become delicate together. The caramel taste of the onion links surprisingly with the herbaceous hints.
Instead of eating fenugreek bread, I had bread with fenugreek cheese. The pairing is present already as tradition, but in this case, I’d like to add some shrewdness, since we start from the cheese not from the herb.
So, I would suggest you a bread with slightly more acidic notes such as a sourdough bread. Where the dough remains more humid, even after a short toasting of it that helps to have a warm bite. You’ll notice how the fermented taste of the bread will manage mitigate the cheese buttery notes to perfection.
Matteo De Santi
Export ManagerIN THE GLASS
Herbarius. If I had to look for three adjectives to describe it they would be: very good, very fragrant, very sweet. Need to say more? Well it’s pocket-sized, portable anywhere. Then the fenugreek takes me back in time, on holiday in the mountains, when my young palate was still unable to appreciate all the decisive aromatic nuances of the Schüttelbrot, the typical bread produced in Alto Adige. It will be difficult, wine goes well with food, not memories (maybe).
ALTO ADIGE GEWURZTRAMINER
Trentino Alto Adige
You know I’m a fan of regional pairing, so let’s start from here. As some would say, this wine “shuffles the cards”, a bit like cheese. Maybe try to choose a version that is not too alcoholic, which preserves a bit of acidity to counteract the buttery of the cheese.
Considered the king of aromatic wines, I think it will entertain you by accompanying the slight smoky scent of fenugreek. A combination perhaps a bit risky, but to be discovered.
GRECO DI TUFO DOCG
A cheese from the Alps paired with a wine from South Italy? Why not try it? The aromatic stratification of the cheese is a challenge, a washed rind dressed in fenugreek herb.
Try to concentrate on the delicately sulphurous notes of the wine and on its softness part that mitigates the sapidity of the crust and the intensity of fenugreek. During the bite then all the fondness and sweetness of the cheese paste will be balanced by the acidity and sapidity of the wine.
At blind tastings my wine friend usually tells me: “Can you explain to me why you have a nose that goes in France?”.
For this pairing I suggest a Sauvignon Blanc based wine, generally characterized by a disconcerting elegance. There are several aromatic similarities between Herbarius and a Sancerre, the smoky side of the cheese will match well with the gunpowder nuance of the wine. As mentioned in the wines above, the acidity will give a great hand to the palate.
Saying “Give me a gin & tonic” could mean in the true sense of the word getting in troubles. Stefano, our barman, suggests me an elegant gin, which does not only have the juniper note as a guide.
Rather we are looking for vegetal and floral notes, with a dry and clean taste. To finish, an unflavoured neutral tonic water, ice cubes and lemon thyme stem. Enjoy your journey!
MORE IN THE CELLAR?
I’ve been asked to suggest also some general guidelines for choosing the wine: I would recommend a white wine of medium structure, with a slightly shy aromatic range, well perceptible acidity, flavour and softness. I would avoid, if possible, too thick tannic textures, I think they would clash with the bitter part of the fenugreek.
Enrico De Conto