Monday, August 29, 2011

Cheese: Juni

Juni cheese is one of the more unique cheeses I've eaten, which is not to say it is one of my favorites. 
But sometimes food is fun to try because it is so different and this is one that anyone who likes trying different kinds of food should try. Juni is made from raw Rossa d'Oropa cow's milk (apparently a very rare cow) near Biella, in Piedmont, Italy, by the Rosso family that has been making it for four generations. The base cheese is Toma Brusca which means "acid cheese." The milk sits for several hours to acidify which helps it to coagulate naturally. Then, with just minimal rennet, it coagulates. Crushed dried juniper berries, harvested in the local mountains, are added to the curd right before it is put into molds. After removal from the mold, the cheese is cured for at least two months on spruce wood in damp caves. One of its unique features is its shape. It is a small cylinder 4 inches in diameter and 6 inches high. 
The rind has a rough gray-brown color with abundant mold and is said to have the aroma of "damp stone, buttered popcorn and mushroom." 
They say the interior texture starts out firm and crumbly, then turns creamy as it ages. 
The Juni I bought was quite hard and crumbly and I thought it must be old (compare the picture above, from the internet, to the one below, mine). However, it maybe needed to sit awhile to get more creamy, because the pictures of mine sure don't look like other pictures I found of it on the internet. 
The interior color is pale in the center and and gets darker near the rind. 
The best description of the flavor I found was "salty and lemony and somewhat meaty, with a pronounced hit of spicy juniper and a bitter finish if you eat the rind." Apparently juniper berries are what gives gin it distinctive flavor. One source described it as the "tang of pine." 
I thought it looked like a core sample from a rotted tree. The taste jumps out: it is salty or tangy, unlike anything I've ever eaten. Judy described the flavor as very acidic, very piney (like pine needles), woody, sappy, tangy and moldy tasting. Not her favorite. 


  1. It's a good cheese.

  2. I love this cheese is so delicious and if you test it in salad is so perfect