Believe it or not, this cheese was not discovered at Market Hall, Cow Girl Creamery, or Whole Foods. Shay and I were exploring Russian Hill in San Francisco, and wandered into (okay let’s be honest, I heard there was a cheese shop and found out the cross-streets) “Cheese Plus.” It was pretty much my heaven: Wine, quality dried pasta, and a very large cheese counter. I asked for the woman behind the counter to give me a taste of her favorite cheese. This is my favorite question to ask people because while it’s an impossible one, I get introduced to at least one cheese I have not had before and often find new favorites. She went for this small cheese and told me it was a triple milk?!?!?!?! I had no idea at the time, but it means the cheese has cows, goat, and sheep milk.
I would call this cheese life-changing; Maddie called it a revelation, likely a more accurate statement. It has a moose-like texture, almost like very light cheese cake. The flavors are very complex, slow to develop, and leave you with a pleasant tang, likely from the goat’s milk.
This unusual cheese comes from Italy (as so many of the best things in life do), from the creamery Caseificio dell’Alta Langa in the region of Piedmont. Caseificio dell’Alta Langa makes around two dozen cheeses, using various combinations of all three milks.
Il Nocciolo should be served alone, or minimally with a mild flavored fruit, like apples. While its flavors are complex, it is certainly not a strong cheese. I would serve it with some mild rosemary crackers, or pieces of french baguette (sweet, not sour).
While this cheese may not go so far as changing your life as it did mine, it is truly unique and will have your guests wanting to come back for more.