The Lady came home very excited…cheese always seems to excite her…because after waiting months, cheeses and butter from her friend, Allison Hooper’s Vermont Butter and Cheese Company, finally arrived at the store. These new products will be featured on the Cheese Island, which is Beverly Hills’ “adjacent” to the Cheese Kiosk. In addition to the butter, which I have reviewed earlier, The Lady is also now selling VB&CC Crème Fraiche, Fromage Blanc and Mascarpone. She brought one of each home for this Feline Foodie to sample and review.
And because he keeps me company while The Lady is away at the cheese mines, I shared with The Man…
First up…Crème Fraiche
Basically, Crème Fraiche is the European “version” of Sour Cream except it is made without adding anything. At the VB&CC, Allison and Bob take the cream, set it aside and allow the natural lactic bacteria to take over. This creates a thick, smooth tart “cream” that is less sour, but thicker, than sour cream. When Allison and Bob began their company in the mid-80s, Crème Fraiche was practically unheard of in the US. Today it is becoming more available and The Lady is thrilled to be able to offer it to her customers, especially those who are amateur chefs at home. Although, you need not do anything “fancy” to enjoy this product.
I give VB&CC Crème Fraiche 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got).
Serving Suggestions: The Lady served it with fresh strawberries that she dipped in the Crème Fraiche and then dipped again in brown sugar. The Man swooned when he tasted this treat. That was exactly the reaction The Lady was going for…
You can add Crème Fraiche to sauces, stews and soups to add flavor and richness. The Lady also uses it to coat chicken and salmon filets before grilling. You can whip it into peaks and add honey and crystallized ginger and spread it over desserts such as cheesecake. Another great way to use it is to add Crème Fraiche to batters to create more moist cakes and muffins. It also adds a new flavor level to Alfredo sauces and Beef Stroganoff. You might check out a recipe for Potato Salad with Crème Fraiche that Vermont Butter and Cheese Company posted on their site.
“White Cheese” is the literal translation of this dairy product. The VB&CC Fromage Blanc is fat-free and can be served as a dessert in the same manner as yogurt.
I give Fromage Blanc 3 Paws out of 4 Paws.
Serving Suggestions: If you mix Fromage Blanc with a little sugar or honey and serve it with fruit. You can also mix it with fresh herbs for a savory spread.
And I have saved the best for last:
As reported here recently, Mascarpone is a favorite cheese of this Feline Foodie and The Lady. VB&CC Mascarpone really delivers with this velvety, rich cream cheese. Mascarpone is the cheese that makes the Italian dessert, Tiramisu, one of the best desserts ever to come from Italy. As far as Italian exports, tiramisu is right up there with Enrico Fabris according to The Lady; The Man prefers Sophia Loren…
I could lick VB&CC Mascarpone off of a spoon all day long and die one happy feline.
I give VB&CC Mascarpone 4 Paws out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got) and add a little wagging tail to show just how much I love this cheese.
Serving Suggestions: Tiramisu, Tiramisu and more Tiramisu…however, there are other wonderful ways to use this cheese such as with pasta and grilled vegetables. You can add it to risotto and polenta to add a velvety touch and creamy taste. You can fill raviolis with it (mixed with Parmesan) or layer it into lasagna instead of ricotta. You can dig any fresh berry in Mascarpone and enjoy a wonderful rich dessert that is simple to prepare.
VB&CC has a fabulous recipe for Artichoke and Mascarpone Lasagna on their website.
Wine Pairing: You can never go wrong if you serve Mascarpone with Prosecco.