Laura Chenel - Taupiniere

Laura Chenel - Taupiniere

Taupinière has a unique, mound-shape with an ash coating and a soft white surface bloom. As the cheese ages, a creamy layer develops under the bloom and it develops a tart flavor, fresh aroma and a beautiful chalk white interior.

This stylish, classic cheese is a visual delight. It belongs on a cheese plate where its flavor and texture can shine but can also dress up a simple flatbread with arugula tossed in fig balsamic vinegar.

Sonoma County cheesemaker Laura Chenel built her business on fresh goat cheese, but her heart lies with her two ripened cheeses: crottin and Taupiniere (toe-peen-YAIR).

Starting with pasteurized goat's milk from her own herd or from any of the 12 family farms that supply her, Chenel adds a culture and lets the milk ripen for about 18 hours, slowly building up lactic acid as the culture converts the milk's lactose. Eventually, the rising acidity causes the milk to begin forming curds. At that point, a small amount of vegetarian rennet is added to finish the job.

This time-consuming method, known as lactic-acid coagulation (as opposed to coagulation achieved largely through renneting), allows the milk to develop flavor and yields softer curds.

After a day or so of draining in their molds, the curds have coalesced enough to be unmolded and coated with a mixture of ash and salt. They spend a few hours drying in front of a fan, then they are sprayed with Penicillium candidum, the mold that produces the bloomy white rind.

Ten to 14 days later, when the cheeses are judged to have enough mold coverage, they are wrapped and shipped. Each package is stamped with a "best by" date, about 45 days from the date of manufacture, but that's just an estimate. Some batches will last another two weeks so don't toss a cheese that's past its date without trying it.

A young Taupiniere, still firm to the touch, will have a little gray surface mold and a smooth, uniform, chalk-white interior, with perhaps just a touch of softening under the rind. The flavor will be tart, the aroma fresh, and the texture dense and palate coating.

A more mature cheese will be softer to the touch, even slightly sunken on top, with plenty of gray surface mold. Inside, the cheese will be fully creamy under the rind although still firm at the center. The flavor will be nuttier and saltier, and the cheese will have lost its youthful acidity.

Taupiniere is a delicate cheese, shelf life is short -- about 45 days so enjoy quickly!

Sorry, this cheese is only available via special order