Technically, I should have done a Christmas post. But that would be cliched. However this post come to you courtesy of my not-so-traditional Christmas dinner at Grand Hyatt Muscat.
Christmas in the Middle east can be a complicated business. It’s a work day for most people and many of us are away from our loved ones (expat orphans). So we all usually opt for a hotel catered event.
This year, at the urging of GF, we took the road less traveled, leaving the extensive buffet to the families and taking an Italian adventure at Tuscany Restaurant.
The feast included ravioli stuffed with fois gras, braised beef cheeks, plates of cured meats and of course, cheese. LOTS of cheese.
When we think of Italian cheeses, the big daddies come to mind – Parmesan, Gorgonzola, Ricotta et al. Our platter contained chunks of the wonderfully soft and tangy Robiola.
This is an Italian soft-ripened cheese of the Stracchino family. It is from the Langhe region and made with varying proportions of cow’s, goat’s milk and sheep milk. One theory is that the cheese gets its name from the town of Robbio in the province of Pavia; another that the name comes from the word rubeole (ruddy) because of the color of the seasoned rind.
Robiola is generally served as a table cheese, either alone or with oil, salt and pepper. It must be stored properly after being purchased, and will keep fresh for up to one month. Its tangy taste is attributable to being infused with the wild herbs on which the animals pasture.
This cheese can be made with cow, goat, or sheep’s milk; or often a combination of the three and is aged generally for a week, with explains its soft texture and lushness.This makes it a perfect cheese to eat with a glass of bubbles or Proseco.
While our feast wasn’t traditional Christmas fare, what would the festive season be without a visit from the man in red.
But he did eventually outstay his welcome. I mean, a gal has cheese to eat.