Lou Bergier Pichin [Piemonte, Italy]
Earlier this month, I tried Lou Bergier Pichin, a raw cow's milk cheese, at The Cheese Store of Carmel. From the name, sounds French, no? In the local Piemontese dialect, it means "man of the hut".
This is a semi-soft toma style cheese with a smelly rind. But like many odoriferous cheeses, the stench is stronger than the taste. It's coagulated with thistle and has a telltale slight bitter note in the finish. The overall flavor is milky with grassy undertones, quite fresh tasting with a bright lactic tang. The paste melted quite nicely on the back of the tongue.
Ah, here's your note.
What I really appreciated was the fresh milk taste. We don't have many options in softer, less aged cheeses for raw milk complexity available to us in the US.
The cheesemonger said that the first wheel the store got of this was so smelly, they had a hard time getting people to even try it. She said this one was far less stinky. It still might not be selling well as it was on special that week for $15 per pound, marked down from the regular $24 price.
I tried another toma from Piemonte yesterday. It was not as soft as this and did not have as moldy a rind. And it was much simpler and not nearly as complex in taste.