Even though Colleen was the one who went to ACS this year, I wasn’t totally left out of the fun. In addition to getting breaking news tweets from her throughout the conference, I got my own blue ribbon winner to taste, thanks to the fine folks at Crave Brothers. Its new Petit Frère with Truffles won first place in the “Cheeses flavored with herbs, fruits, vegetables, truffles, flowers, syrups – all milks” category this year, but since the cheese has only been sold at local farmers markets to date, it’s impossible to find at my local cheese shop. Alise at Crave was kind enough to send me a wheel, and I am so very glad she did.
The original Petit Frère was on the Wine Spectator list that inspired this blog, and we sampled its big brother Les Frères three years ago, praising its gentle funk and mushroomy flavor. Well, when you add truffles to an already mushroom-intense cheese, you would expect it to be mushroom overload, right? Fortunately, the Crave Brothers have crafted a finely balanced cheese that doesn’t brag about its rich, luxurious truffliness. The zing of the washed rind keeps the earthiness of the truffles in check, and the oozy texture brings the cheese’s creaminess to the forefront.
I still have a couple boxes of Beer Flats left over from my post-Fancy Food Show Daelia’s Biscuits shipment, so I tried both Porter and Pilsner varieties with Petit Frère. While the Porter cracker muted the truffle flavor, the Pilsner version allowed the cheese to shine and was my preferred pairing. Add a glass of white wine and there’s nothing more you need for a sophisticated snack.
Disclaimer: Crave Brothers provided the cheese free of charge; as always, all opinions are my own.