Sunday, July 10, 2011

Cheese: Cantal or Cantalet Dore

Cantalet (kahn-tahl-ay) Dore is made out of the Salers breed of cow's milk and is one of the oldest French cheeses. 
It is a smaller 20 pound version of Cantal which is made in 110 pound wheels. Cantal dates back over 2,000 years ago to Rome and is one of the oldest cheeses. 
Pliny the Elder mentions Cantal in his "Historia Naturalis" written in the 1st century AD. It is an AOC (Appellation d'Origine Controlee) cheese named for the Cantal mountains of the Auvergne region and is referred to as the "French Cheddar" because it is similar to cheddar in flavoring, but has a more creamy, milky quality. Cantal has a smooth grayish-brown rind, 
a smooth, pale yellow flesh, and an earthy smell. Milk is heated at 90 degrees and curdled with liquid rennet. The curd is cut into tiny pieces then pressed to remove the whey. It sits for eight hours while lactic acid develops. It is salted and pressed again three or four times. Then it is left to age. It is aged from three to nine months. Aged one to two months is Cantal jeune, aged two to six months is Cantal entre-deux or Cantal dore and aged six months or more is Cantal vieux. If made with raw milk it is known as Cantal Fermier, or if made with pasteurized milk is known as Cantal Laitier. 
When young, it has a mild, butter flavor. Over time, it develops a bite reminiscent of sharp cheddar and a slightly acidic finish. I'm not sure how long the cheese I had was aged. 
In my own taste test I found it had a cheddary taste, almost citrusy and it got stronger in the mouth and had a long after-taste. The rind was very different, very earthy with a deeper taste. I love the look of it. It is very unusual. 
I had it on a grilled cheese sandwich and didn't finish it. 
It was earthy to the max. Not my favorite cheese. 

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