It may stun you to know that I have friends who don’t eat cheese.
My friend Beth is one of those people. She loves cheese, it just didn’t love her.
Beth’s problem is cow’s milk in particular disagreed with her. She told me once she really missed pizza and other goodies because of her cow’s milk cheese intolerance.
Standby because I’m about to get sciency and stuff.
It is commonly believed that milk proteins, not the sugars, found in milk are the cause for a dairy allergy. Although symptoms associated with lactose intolerance are similar to that of a dairy allergy, the body’s reaction is different.
A true food allergy is triggered by the immune systems hypersensitivity to the ingested food, in this case dairy proteins. There are various degrees of allergic response and over time they can intensify. However, a person can be lactose intolerant and also develop a sensitivity to dairy proteins.
Beth is lucky because she can tolerate goat and sheep milk. This is because it is thought that these milks are easier to digest than cow’s milk.
So I set out to find alternative cheeses for her and I found a doozy.
Produced on the island of Sardinia off the coast of Italy, Pecorino Moliterno al Tartufo is a raw sheep’s milk cheese shot through with veins of unctuous truffle.
The truffle is actually added well into the ageing process, so the cheese itself has developed its own flavor and enables it to break down before the flavoring is added. It is aged for about a year so that the cheese develops its own character before the black truffle cream is injected into it at various angles. During the maturing period, the wheels of cheese are also rubbed with vinegar and olive oil from the local region.
As you will see from the above photo, it is also eye wateringly expensive. But that’s a lot of truffle in there.
These flavors, combined with the incredibly pungent truffle, spread throughout the cheese, balancing the rich earthy notes of the sheeps milk. so many Silence of the Lambs references…but no. I also imagine Sardinian farmers lovingly caressing their wheels of cheese…anyway.
The truffle pate is injected and usually it’s quite chunky, deep veins. But the cheese I sourced in Doha last week had lovely, almost delicate streaks. It’s a moderately sharp cheese, think a semi bitey cheddar but the truffle flavor is intense. It is a pecorino after all.
It’s a cheese that could stand alone but me being a peasant, I topped a burger patty with it. It could also go with an unadorned pasta or risotto if that’s how you roll.
So I did give Beth a chunk of this charming cheese and am yet to hear her reviews. But I am already taking out a mortgage for my next hit.