I can still recall the first time I tasted a triple creme; it was heaven on my palate. I had never tasted a cheese so rich, so creamy and so buttery. It was Saint Andre and many triple creme cheeses later, I still love this group of cheeses.
Just the facts:
Milk: Pasteurized (in US; may be raw in Europe)
Butterfat: Here’s where it gets interesting. Many US Producers consider 70% butterfat in the dry matter (FDM) as the threshold for a cheese to be labeled a triple creme, including 2016 ACS Competition winners (BT category: Triple Creme – Soft Ripened/Cream added – all milks) from Lactalis. However, the legal French definition for a triple creme cheese is a minimum of 75% FDM (see link below). In the US, butter is 80% butterfat in the dry matter and in Europe butter contains 82 to 86% FDM. The referenced article by Formaggio Kitchen also states the threshold at 75%. When I was teaching classes for Murray’s Cheese, we used 75% as the threshold.
Remember this is butterfat in the dry matter; not the entire cheese. If you remove ALL moisture(water), which in triple cremes is about 50%, 75% of what is left will be butterfat (or 70% in some instances). That comes out to just north of 30% of the entire cheese being butterfat.
The US CFR doesn’t address this issue at all. In the US, the FDA is more interested in the labeling being correct as to all ingredients being listed correctly and not interested in a legal definition of “triple creme”.
I have chatted via email, texts and phone calls today with no less than a dozen cheese professionals regarding this % and it’s about 50/50 as to which is correct…
When young, triple cremes have a mostly buttery paste and as they age, the creamline at the rind becomes gooey. Depending on the producer’s desired flavor profile, triple cremes may become earthy and mushroomy. As with Brie, when the smell of ammonia is strong and persistent, then the cheese is past its prime and should be tossed. If you eat an ammoniated triple creme, most likely it won’t hurt you, but you might walk away without falling in love with this category of cheeses.
In my opinion, due to the high butterfat content, the perfect wine pairing is a sparkling one: a fine French Champagne not only lifts the butterfat off the palate but also enhances the flavor profile of the cheese.
Formaggio Kitchen article about the difference between double creme and triple creme: cheeses: http://www.formaggiokitchen.com/blog/what-exactly-are-double-and-triple-creme-cheeses/
US Code of Federal Regulations as it pertains to “Soft-ripened” cheeses: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=133.182
French Code as it pertains to triple creme cheeses: https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexteArticle.do;jsessionid=3193693BF88BFDC010754697A8D74504.tpdila08v_2?idArticle=LEGIARTI000028202724&cidTexte=LEGITEXT000006056036&dateTexte=20170410
THIS JUST IN: THANKS TO THE GENEROSITY OF SO MANY IN OUR CHEESE COMMUNITY, OUR FIRST ACS CCP EXAM® HAS BEEN FULLY FUNDED!! Plus we are 50% toward funding a second scholarship for an ACS CCP® to attend the ACS Conference in Denver.
Our Facebook Cheese Study Group is raising funds to send worthy ACS CCP exam® candidates and ACS CCPs® who want to attend the 2017 ACS Conference in Denver, Cheese With Altitude. You can apply for a scholarship by clicking hereand you can contribute to the scholarship fund by clicking here. All monies raised (withe the exception of the fees charged by GoFundMe) go to the winners of the scholarship. everyone involved in the scholarship efforts is donating their time and receiving NO fees or monetary compensation… just the feeling of helping those who need our help. Complete rules and information can be found here.
Applications must be submitted by 5pm April 15th.