Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Triple Cream Cheese

Of all the triple cream cheeses I've tried, St. Andre has always stood out for its creaminess and almost whipped like texture. It reminds me of whipped cream cheese that is rather remarkable, since this texture is naturally occurring and not mechanically enhanced.

Today I found a St. Andre look alike from France called St. Angel. I'd be hard pressed to pick a favorite, but for one thing, the St. Angel was perfectly ripe in the center without the exterior looking past it's prime. When St. Andre is not fully ripe, the center is not creamy, but crumbly and chalky looking. The flavor is not buttery, with no hint that it will become so. St. Angel is buttery through and through. It has a buttery mouth feel, is light textured and very creamy in taste. I don't know where the St. Angel cows graze, but I'd love to roll around in that grass. It has usurped St. Andre as my favorite French, triple cream, cow's milk cheese

Brie De Meaux, another more dense, triple cream, French cow's milk cheese was a part of today's tasting. This cheese is a well known French classic, with a mild rind, a light earthy note and a slight salty taste that would be perfect if paired with crackers or a baguette. 

The last of today's tasting was a Northern Italian goat's milk cheese wrapped in chestnut leaves. It was described as having a smokey bacon flavor, but that eluded my taste buds. What I discovered was a delightful, mushroom flavor and what can only be described as an "umami" taste. It was less salty than the Brie De Meaux and it seems the leaves kept it from forming a classic rind. It is very fluid when ripe and I'd definitely buy it again when looking for a strong, earthy flavor.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Non Fat Milk…Round Two

I have come to the conclusion that milk may have different tastes depending on the butterfat. I believe the breed may also be a factor and the feed, however, of the 5 no fat milks I have tried, there is very little perceptible difference. Today I tried Lucerne milk from Safeway and their house brand O Organics. I used the Trader Joe’s brand as a comparison to the first 3 tested. Except for the O Organic milk which holds a bubble longer, there was no taste difference. I’m off to find Berkeley Farms and Clover as they are two local brands that I have always liked. I hope to find a difference with a higher quality, less generic milk. I also have a vague recollection of loving Strauss non fat milk, but perhaps it was the nostalgia of drinking milk straight from the bottle.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Non Fat Milk

The results of this test came as a complete surprise to me. For years I have sworn that some skim milk tastes richer than others, and looks richer too. As you can tell by the photo, all three brands tested do not have that blue ring we normally associate with non fat milk, nor the translucency. Going back and forth with sips, taking water in between to cleanse my palate, the only difference I discovered was that the brand on the left from Lucky Supermarket lacked a very slight sweetness that the Trader Joe's fat free milk had and it tasted identical to the TJ's Organic Fat Free Milk. It seems that organic feed and lack of hormones and whatever else they subject the herds to, does not make a difference in taste. This experience compels me to try other brands trying to find one that stands out in flavor.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Sweet Baguettes

We in San Francisco are very lucky to have seriously good bakeries in our area. Grace, Semifreddi's, Acme to name but a few. Today I decided to try a taste test between Semifreddi's and Acme sweet baguettes. I wasn't expecting much difference because I purchase both and like both, but when placed side by side the difference is apparent.

The Acme baguette has a slightly crisp crust, with a chewier, slightly more dense, interior. The taste is lightly sweet, with a very mild yeast taste. It stood up to being spread with semi soft cheeses without tearing. I would classify this baguette as a bit rustic due to the texture.

The Semifreddi's sweet baguette seemed a bit more fragile with a softer crumb, but it still held up well to the cheese. The crust is softer and doesn't make a little crunching sound when chewed, an insignificant difference from the Acme baguette that I actually missed. It is sweet, but not yeasty. I would call this a more refined baguette. 

My preference was for the Acme baguette because it is closer in appearance, texture and taste to a French baguette.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Mission

Since I'm always trying new pantry staples to find the best flavored items, this is a natural for me. My intention is to review products we all use and to compare them with identical or very similar items that are commonly available or at least available over the Internet.