Good Eatin’ – Chervil and Cheeses

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die

I swear that these list cheeses are like busses – you hope for one and then three come along at the same time. It’s not that I am complaining, but it has made a few days of high fat meals.

Food item: Chervil

What’s this? This isn’t a cheese. Well, no, but I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to try fresh chervil for the first time. I have had a jar of dried chervil in the cupboard for ages, but the taste is nothing compared to fresh.

It’s one of the milder herbs that I have had for the list, but there in-lies some of the charm. The herb itself looks like a variety of parsley, just with smaller leaves. However, the taste is more between fennel bulb and aniseed. Because of this chervil is closely linked to dishes containing eggs and fish.

For my own tasting I tried this in two ways: I firstly used it to make a chervil mayonnaise to pair with some crocodile burgers that we just bought. Yup, I had crocodile burgers and they were delicious with the chervil mayonaisse. Maybe because crocodile burgers taste a bit like shrimp burgers? Still, I’d recommend this combination.

As for the second use let’s have a look at cheese number one:

Food item: Camembert Fermier

I love a good wheel of Camembert, and this Camembert Fermier is no exception. The book said that this would be a more mild Camembert experience… but it could still be smelt through Tupperware and a plastic bag. Nothing to do but eat it quickly.

 

This is only the second time that I’ve baked a Camembert, and I have to say that it really turned out well. The chervil sprigs that I added helped to add a mild aniseed taste to the upper third of the cheese. Considering how incredibly creamy this cheese was (I’m guessing the difference between regular Camembert and Camembert Fermier is to do with the cream content in some way?) it was good to have that extra subtle flavour.

The hub chose some lovely caramelized walnut bread to eat with this… and I cannot fault him for this truly inspired choice.

Food items: Ricotta Romana and Fiore Sardo

The other two cheeses that we found today are some very specific varieties of Italian cheese.

Ricotta Romana is different from regular ricotta because it is made from the by-products of pecorino cheese. This is meant to give it a different flavour from regular ricotta, which of course is true and I’ll find it hard to go back to plastic tub ricotta again.

This is creamier and fresher than regular ricotta with a slight grassiness that I was not expecting. There is also a real difference in texture with the Romana not being completely smooth, but actually slightly grainy. It actually made for a nice surprise to not have this ricotta as a pure paste.

I also saw on the web that I should try the ricotta with honey… so instead I tried it with some syrup from the green walnut gliko jar. Oh wow that was delicious and I am doing that again.

Finally there is a the Fiore Sardo. It’s a type of pecorino cheese that comes from Sardinia and, if my reading was correct, is the cheese that is used to make the infamous and illegal Sardinian maggot cheese. Obviously mine didn’t have any maggots in it. I hope.

Even though the Fiore Sardo is a hard cheese it is deceptively easy to slice. Since I got the young version instead of the mature version (which I do now regret) I probably missed out on some of the more overt flavours. However, what I did find that despite having a slightly sharp nose it turned out to be very buttery and mild.

A big surprise with the Fiore Sardo was the complete lack of a lactic acid. Considering the way that this cheese sweated when I took it out of the fridge I really expected more of a lactic kick. This is a cheese that would form part of an excellent cheeseboard.

Progress: 670/751

So, if you’re counting, I am now left with 24 cheeses on this list. It sounds like a lot, but we are talking about a lot of very specific (and getting rather expensive) types of cheese. One of them is technically illegal… so we’ll see how that ends up.

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