Type of Milk:
Italy, Veneto region
The name of this cheese, Sottocenere, essentially means "under ash". The gray rind is formed by a layer of ash that covers the cheese as it ages. Mixed with the ash are spices such as coriander, nutmeg and cloves although these spices hardly flavor the cheese. It is the addition of truffle oil and tiny flecks of truffle that create the irresistible flavor and aroma. The rind is edible, although sometimes a little gritty, and is less flavorful than the cheese.
Truffle! Not only are tiny pieces of truffle found throughout this semi-soft cheese, but the rind is also rubbed with truffle oil.
Uses and Pairings:
I prefer not to pair much of anything with this cheese - the rich flavor of truffles shines on its own. A glass of sparkling wine or Italian Barbera will wash it down well.
A little bit of Sottocenere melted into a dish can be transformative - try melting it over polenta, risotto, or scrambled eggs. Squares of grilled cheese sandwich with Sottocenere could be a fun appetizer at a party (or a completely decadent lunch).
More Types of Truffle Cheese
- Moliterno Black Truffle Pecorino: A Sardinian cheese with the earthy, nutty, salty flavor of pecorino layered with black truffle paste. The truffles can be seen in dark lines throughout the cheese. Made from raw sheep's milk.
- Boschetto al Tartufo: A semi-soft Italian cheese made from a blend of pasteurized cow and sheep milk. The cheese is mild, letting the shavings of white truffle dominate the flavor.
- Truffle Tremor: Pasteurized goat's milk with a soft, fluffy texture. Flecked with bits of black truffle. Made by Cypress Grove in California.
- Truffle and Salt Cheddar: An aged, pasteurized cheddar made with black truffle salt. Created by Ballard Family Dairy and Cheese in Idaho.
- Truffle Gouda: Dutch gouda flavored with little flecks of black truffle. Less sharp and sweet than some types of gouda, the cheese has a flavor that doesn't overpower the truffles.