A cheese soaked in wine. What a novel idea?
I believe that it was first tried in Spain. The soft goats cheese that was traditional was prone to going mouldy, and they wanted a way to prevent the mould from spoiling the cheese and to be able to keep it longer before eating it. Wine was the perfect solution, because by soaking the cheese in this weak acidic and alcoholic drink prevented mould from taking hold on the rind. That's the history behind it anyway. The process was soon used in Italy where they predominantly used cow's milk and called it Formaggio Ubriaco (Drunken Cheese).
This is my first attempt at this cheese so I will not be posting the recipe until I know how it turns out. You will have to wait three months until it matures for the taste test post. It is only the second type of washed curd cheese I have made other than Gouda.
The recipe I used was from Tim Smith's Making Artisan Cheese, and was Cabra al Vino (which is Spanish for Goats Wine), except I have used cow's milk, changed the recipe somewhat, and the type of wine.
I opted for a sweet red instead of the normal dry red used for this cheese. I used a Crimson Cabernet by Banrock Station, which is a light fruity red, hoping that it will impart a certain sweetness to the cheese.
The cheese soaks in the wine for 24 hours initially, then a 6 hour air drying, then another 24 hours in the wine bath.
When it is removed, and dried for another 24 hours, it looks like this. It has a lovely purple colour.
It was not suggested in the recipe, but I pieced the cheese about 14 times as I would with a blue, to let some of the wine infuse into the core of the round. I am hoping for a marbling effect, but time will tell.
It is being stored at 12C @ 80% humidity, for three months. I have to turn it daily for the first two weeks, and if mould forms (which I am hoping it won't), I have to wipe it with a brine solution. I have found from experience that my wine fridge does not stay humid enough, so I may end up waxing it at the four week mark to ensure that it keeps moist.
Fingers crossed it will be a very nice cheese. It smells delicious already, but I have always been partial to a nice drop of red wine!
Has anyone tasted this type of cheese before? I have to admit that I have not, so it is a big experiment for me.