Certified cheese expert Matt Caputo says:
As cheesemonger with preference for fully ripened cheese, I am always at risk of suggesting cheeses with flavors well outside of my customers' comfort zones. Challenging Utah's collective taste buds in this way is probably one reason Caputo's
is often credited for pushing the food scene in Utah forward.
However, it has certainly turned many people off and sent them running back for the comfort of pre-cut wedges of sweet and nutty cheeses at the grocery store.
Finding a cheese that all of us cheese dorks behind the counter geek out on but is still easily enjoyable to the novice can be a real challenge. Lou Bergier Pichin is one of these elusive cheeses. It is an unpasteurized cow's milk cheese from Piedmont, Italy. It has an open texture (cheese terminology 101, "open texture" means small irregular holes like in Havarti or Manchego) and the paste is a little softer than a Havarti. (Although it has been about 10 years since I have eaten Havarti so maybe my memory is serving me poorly.)
The paste is creamy and grassy in flavor. The thistle flower that is used in place of animal rennet for thickening lends a soft vegetal bitterness to lend balance to this buttery morsel. However, it is the rind that brings it all together and adds a depth of nuanced aromas that gets us cheese fiends all hot and bothered. After about a month in our cheese cave the thin natural rind has a dusting of various molds. These molds give ever so faint hints of other types of cheeses like brie and even some bleu cheese molds but are only sexy little whispers.
Lou Bergier Pichin is mild enough to serve before a meal. I like to enjoy it on its own with bread and pilsner. In Spain and Portugal stronger thistle rennet cheeses such as Serra da Estrella or Torta del Casar are often paired with tomato chutneys. Although Lou Bergier is much milder I really like it with Amour Spread's Savory Heirloom Tomato Jam.
So to those of you that I have sampled cheeses you found offensive, I apologize by giving you Lou Bergier Pichin. Delicious, interesting and approachable.