Sola Val Casotto
The Sola Val Casotto is a surprisingly semi-soft cheese with a natural rind that develops while ageing in caves and lends a beautiful hint of musky earthiness to the cheese. The paste is pliable and because the cheese is made with whole cow's milk, is super creamy.
When you first put a bite in your mouth, you get a taste of the luxurious, lactic creaminess and then as you move it around in your mouth and the flavors develop you start to get hints of salted almonds and a little bit of grass. For a sensational experience add a sip of our Joy Sauvignon Blanc.
As it ages it can develop more piquant flavors which can be described as "pinching" your mouth. It is one of those cheeses that you think is simple when you first taste it, but blows you away with the complexity of flavors as they develop.
Use this cheese on a mixed cheese platter. It is luxurious and creamy without being rich, pairs wonderfully with almost any fruit, especially cherries.
Situated over 6,000 above sea level, the mountain pastures in the heart of the area around Val Casotto in Piemonte in summer produce very small quantities of astounding cheese.
When Luigi Guffanti founded Formaggi Guffanti in 1876 he purchased an abandoned silver mine in which to mature his cheeses. There, at constant temperature and humidity throughout the year, the cheese matured so well that they became famous for their aged cheeses. From these masters of many varieties of mixed milk cheeses, Sola is a blend of sheep and raw cow’s milk.
The Sola comes in a pudgy square format, with a stony, cracked gray exterior speckled with patches of bright yellow mold. The rind has a wrinkled imprint of the cheese cloth that is used to drain the whey from the curds and gathered into a knot while the cheese drained. The way the cheese looks is jokingly compared to a shoe sole - hence the term "sola".
Cutting into it reveals an ivory paste with scattered slits and eyes, oozing to a silky, elastic texture as it warms. Once aged, the cheese takes on a complex, lactic, sweet-sour flavor and seductive, semi-smooth texture. The flavor is mild but complex, tangy, buttery, meaty, a bit sour, with a deep earthy, musty overtone, certainly the aroma and flavor of deep caves and wet stone.
This is a good cheese for someone just being introduced to this style of tomme, as the earthy and sour flavors are present without being overpowering.