Monday, May 4, 2015

La Tur

A while ago, when I visited Cheese Importers in Longmont, Colorado, my mission was to find an unusual cheese to take home and review. After much searching, I happened upon an adorable little treasure.

La Tur has a wrinkly top rind with an oozing interior just bellow the surface.

It looks like a fancy cupcake!

La Tur is a creamy soft cheese from the Piedmonte region in Italy. It looks like a frosted white cupcake and is almost as much fun to eat. Stuffed inside a plastic container with a cupcake liner, La Tur is unique, unexpectedly elegant and complex. Three kinds of milk are used to create this intriguing cheese: cow, goat and sheep. This milky menage a trois is heated at the lowest possible temperature allowed by Italian law, so that naturally-occurring enzymes aren't completely destroyed. This ends up allowing the flavor of the final product to become more complex.   

After popping open the lid of the container, an inviting aroma with just a hint of pungency escaped. I couldn't wait to dig in! As the cheese ages, the edges ooze more, and it becomes more pungent both in aroma and in flavor. Stored properly, the entire cheese gets softer and gooier over time.

La Tur's thin and fragile white rind is wrinkly and slightly fuzzy with a mildly mushroomy taste. The younger it is, the more the texture in the middle is flaky and less moist but not quite dry. The milky white interior coats the palate in a more gentle way than a fresh goat cheese, but there are some similarities. As soft as it is overall, La Tur still has substantial structure and texture, however, this is a cheese that invites you to grab a spoon and dive into the center.

La Tur Cheese
Fluffy, oozing, velvety smooth La Tur cheese on a plate.

In terms of flavor, the cow milk softens the tang of the goat milk and subdues the sharpness of the sheep milk, leaving the overall taste on the verge of something big without hitting any shocking notes. It's a nice balance of flavors and textures that leaves you wanting more.

In the early stages, I tried some on an almond, orange biscotti and accidentally created a masterpiece. Big cream and milky flavors in this cheese pair beautifully with a slightly sweet cookie, and the subtle tang is just enough to wake up your taste buds. The velvety smooth cheese practically melts in your mouth, so anything with a nice crunch makes a good accompaniment. Any slightly sweet cracker makes a great combination, but this cheese also pairs well with crusty bread, grilled fruits, quince jam or honey. Serve it with a fruit platter that includes berries or even bake it in savory dishes. Because of its subtle flavors, La Tur ends up being a versatile cheese.

La Tur with a crunchy cracker.

Try La Tur with Mondoro Sparkling Asti Spumante, a low-oak red wine or a Sauvignon Blanc.

Image result for Mondoro Sparkling Asti Spumante
La Tur pairs well with Asti Spumante.