Love truffles? You’ll want to try these cheeses


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Wisconsin produces a variety of cheeses infused with indulgent flavors such as bourbon and chocolate that are fitting for special times, but black truffle cheese is perhaps the most extravagant of flavorings. Truffle season peaks right around Valentine’s Day, making it a popular ingredient especially when paired with cheese in everything from mac and cheese to souffles and scrambled eggs. Wisconsin’s versatile truffle cheeses are good on cheeseboards or in recipes. 

Using real truffles 

“The flavors that truffles bring through are great,” says Tony Hook, proprietor of Hook’s Cheese. Hook first made his truffle cheddar cheese using truffle powder and truffle oil, but then he did an experimental batch with real black, summer truffles from Italy. “I really didn’t think it was going to be good, because the sales rep said you don’t need to use very much — and we didn’t add that much,” he says. “But, wow, the flavor really comes through. It was good [with the oil and powder], but with the real truffles, it’s unbelievable.” Hook now makes two truffled cheeses: the original truffle cheddar and a sheep’s milk truffle cheese that is more in the style of a Monterey Jack.

From burrata to raclette 

“Truffles are definitely becoming trendy,” says Alexanndrya Barnickle-Miller, marketing specialist for Marieke Gouda, which makes a truffle gouda. “It’s definitely something that’s picked up space instead of just being a holiday or special events cheese. Now, it’s a year-round cheese, and it’s very popular.”

Hook notes that more cheesemakers are starting to add truffle to cheeses. “I hope it’s not a fad,” he says. “Some of the cheese we’ve made, like pesto jack or tomato basil, they were a big hit, but then they fade in popularity. Truffles have staying power, and they’re [akin] to pepper cheeses, which have grown and grown in popularity.”

Ashley Ward, spokeswoman for Burnett Dairy, which makes Wood River Creamery Black Truffle Cheddar Gruyere, says its black truffle is one of the most popular versions of this cheese. But, she adds, “you either love or hate the truffle.”

Many people love it. “It’s like unwrapping a gift,” says Sofia Auricchio Krans, a fifth- generation cheesemaker at family-owned BelGioioso Cheese. “You have the sweet, milky flavor and freshness of the cream and that robust and earthy flavor from the black summer truffle. That unique, strong flavor balances with the freshness and the sweet mildness of the mozzarella.”

“Truffle has really earthy, umami flavors,” says Paula Heimerl, co-owner of Alpinage Artisan Cheese, which makes a truffle flavor of its raclette cheese, Mount Raclette truffle. Heimerl recommends using it in macaroni and cheese, but truffle cheese also works well in mashed potatoes, other pasta dishes, flatbreads, and even burgers and steaks.

Krans says its fresh burrata with truffles works great on a cheese plate as the finishing cheese, especially if you start with a crescenza, then add a blue cheese like gorgonzola. It’s the fat in cheese that helps convey the pungent aroma of truffles, which helps explain why it works with such a wide variety of cheeses — and why it should be enjoyed last on cheese plate.

Pairings with truffle cheeses

For a wine pairing, pinot noirs with earthy aromas match up pretty evenly with any truffle cheese.

For a beer pairing, wheat beers often stand up to the truffle cheese nicely.

Whiskey and whisky also pairs pretty well with truffle cheeses. For cocktails, New York sours pair delightfully with truffle cheeses, and old fashioneds and Manhattans also pair well.

Puerh tea would also likely pair well with truffled cheeses.

Wisconsin truffle cheeses to try:

Image Credit: The Cheese Professor.

Carr Valley Black Goat Truffle

Carr Valley’s truffle goat cheese is made from fresh goat milk and is described as having a pungent, earthy aroma. A firm cheese, it shreds well and is recommended on salads, burgers, and vegetables.

Image Credit: Carr Valley.

Hook’s Black Truffle Cheddar

Hook’s Black Truffle Cheddar melds mild white cheddar with imported black truffles from Italy.  This firm cheese is studded with black truffles throughout. Tony Hook and his wife Julie handcraft this cheese in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. It practically melts in your mouth and is perfumed just right with the earthy, truffle aroma. 

Image Credit: Hook’s.

Hook’s Sheep Milk Truffle Cheese

The Hooks also make sheep’s milk version. Unlike the cheddar truffle, this cheese has more of a Monterey Jack base; it’s made from the rich sheep’s milk from the farm of Brenda Jensen, who owns Hidden Springs Creamery. This is a lighter, creamier cheese, but it is still rich in truffles.

Image Credit: Hook’s.

Marieke Gouda Truffle

An award-winning, farmstead cheese, Marieke Gouda Truffle has black truffles added to a semi-firm cheese that’s been made within five hours of milking. Aged for two to four months, it’s smooth and creamy and has the right touch of truffle. 

Image Credit: Marieke.

Wood River Creamery Black Truffle

Crafted by Bruce Willis, a master cheesemaker for Burnett Dairy — Wood River Creamery is a brand within the dairy — this American original cheese combines the best of cheddar with the best of gruyere to create something entirely noshable. If this one-bite-is-not-enough cheese isn’t fantastic enough by itself, the earthy richness of savory truffles adds to its addictive nature.

Image Credit: Wood River Creamery.

Alpinage Mount Raclette Truffle

An American raclette cheese studded with black truffles, Alpinage Mount Raclette Truffle is a bit more crumbly in texture than the original Alpinage Mount Raclette, but it’s just as delicious. Made from raw milk and aged two months or more, this cheese offers lovely truffle aromatics. It’s one of the only flavored cheeses from Alpinage, a new cheesemaker that has begun experimenting with flavors.   

Image Credit: Alpinage.

Belgioioso Burrata With Black Truffles

BelGioioso’s truffled burrata is perhaps the most aromatic cheese of the bunch. If burrata wasn’t extravagant enough, black truffles push it over the edge in the most delicious way possible. Cut into a ball of burrata and not only the luscious cream and shreds of mozzarella ooze out, but so does the aroma of black summer truffles from Italy. It’s easy to see how it’s won several awards.

This article originally appeared on The Cheese Professor and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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Image Credit: Belgioioso.

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