Friday, December 12, 2008

Rare FORMAGGIO TORO UBRIACO (drunken bull cheese) arrives!


Durham cheese maker Alessandra Trompeo has quickly received much international acclaim representing American raw cheese makers at the Slow Food Terre Madre event in Turin, Italy. Her "Duchessa" is our best selling cheese and she is a helluva nice lady to boot. We are proud to be the exclusive source for her latest cheese, Toro Ubriaco, or "Drunken Bull" in honor of our fair Bull City!

This cow's milk cheese is an aromatic, washed rind cheese, encased in Sangiovese must (the skins and seeds left over after the red wine making process) so it imparts a winey, fruity taste. Four and a half months in the making, we are extremely excited to debut this exotic, complex cheese starting today. It is made in one pound squares with grape skins intact and cut in half to show the inside and make it a more convenient size for couples. The cost is $21.99/pound (about $11 a piece).

ALESSANDRA HAS MADE ONLY 25 OF THESE CHEESES (50 halves). So please come soon if you are interested in getting some. They will sell out quickly!

Here's Alessandra's notes on the history of this type of cheese:

"The Drunken Bull has its origin in Eastern Italy.  Several folk stories tell how the cheese was born. Someone links its origin to WWI when the farmers, trying to defend their stocks from the soldiers’ raids, would hide the cheese under grape skins. Others think that lack of resources is the main reason why the cheese was born. Being the oil to treat the cheese rinds very expensive, several families of farmers would use grape skins to keep the rinds moist and clean. The result was a very aromatic cheese that would last much longer.
There is also a story about a crooked cheesemaker who tried to hide some wheels from his boss dumping them into a fermenting must barrel. The cheese became then the strong point of that dairy and soon the trick of aging the cheese in grape skins became a habit in many dairies of the area."

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