• Solander Skelf

Flavored Cheeses

Updated: May 19, 2018

There are a remarkable number of flavored cheeses nowadays. Many are disapproved of by cheese cognoscenti but flavoring cheese has perfectly respectable antecedents.

Adding flavoring ingredients tends to be done to add visual interest and flavor to younger cheeses, although there are a few harder examples, such, Majorero Pimentón, a goat's cheese from the Canary Islands where the flavor is rubbed into the rind.

Majorero Pimentón, is a semi-soft pasteurized goat’s milk cheese made from the Majorera breed of goats on Fuerteventura, the Canary Island closest to Northern Africa. It is coated in pimentón, a traditional paprika spice produced in the same region. The pimentón was originally used to protect the rind of the cheese from unwanted mold and bacteria. In this case, it gives a unique appearance to the rind and smokey, spicy flavor to the paste. Majorero Pimentón, pairs well with Sauvignon Blanc as well as many Spanish and Portuguese varietals.

Smoked Cheeses

Like other ingredients, cheeses can be smoked, a technique that tends to suit firmer cheeses, such as Cheddar or Goude-style cheese, although you can buy smoked Mozzarella (scamorza) and smoked blues, a speciality of the Rogue Creamery in Oregon.

Cheddar cheese is a relatively hard, off-white (or orange if spices such as annatto are added), sometimes sharp-tasting, natural cheese. Originating in the English village of Cheddar in Somerset, cheeses of this style are produced beyond the region and in several countries around the world. Cheddar made in the classical way tends to have a sharp, pungent flavour, often slightly earthy. The "sharpness" of cheddar is associated with the levels of bitter peptides in the cheese. This bitterness has been found to be significant to the overall perception of the aged Cheddar flavour. The texture is firm, with farmhouse traditional Cheddar being slightly crumbly; it should also, if mature, contain large cheese crystals consisting of calcium lactate – often precipitated when matured for times longer than six months.

Scamorza is an Italian, spun paste cow’s milk cheese belonging to the pasta filata family. Shaped similar to a provolone in pear shape, it is available in many other forms as well. A semi-soft white cheese with a texture comparable to that of a firm, dry Mozzarella, Scamorza is made throughout Apulia and in some parts of Campania and Molise.

The cheese is made from pasteurized cow’s milk or from a mixture of cow and sheep milk. At the end of the cheese making process, which is akin to Mozzarella, the cheeses are hanged together in strings to ripen for about two weeks. The process of ripening the cheese has given Scamorza its name, which in southern Italy means ‘beheaded’.

After two weeks of ripening, the cheese is sold as it is or smoked. The smoked variant, called ‘Scamorzi Affumicate’ is made by smoking the cheese over flaming straw for around 10 to 15 minutes. A fresh version of Scamorza is also sold within a few days of production.

The texture of Scamorza is elastic, stringy and has less moisture than Mozzarella. In addition, the flavour is more piquant, milky and creamy. Smoked Scamorza has a subtle, smoky flavour with a sweet, light caramel note.

Scamorza is used as a substitute for Mozzarella as it imparts more interest in the recipe. Since Scamorza has excellent melting qualities, it is best known to flavour baking dishes, for griddling or topped with prosciutto for extra zest. The smoky flavour of Scamorza pairs well with oak-aged Chardonnay, Pinot Girgio or Orvieto.

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