Many years ago in Seattle, in the paleolithic era before Trader Joe's and Whole Foods and the availability of many cheeses from around the world, I made a gorgeous, fluffy, lemon zest infused Corsican cheesecake called Fiadone.
The recipe had been adapted to ingredients available in America, thus whole milk ricotta cheese was listed. Oddly, there wasn't a single reference in the recipe to the traditional Corsican cheese used to make fiadone: Brocciu.
A trip to Thriftway on upper Queen Anne Avenue yielded some decent Italian ricotta so I set about my baking, thinking to myself that this cake was basically an Italian ricotta cheesecake.
This week's Fête du Fromage has proven to me that there is indeed a difference between ricotta and Brocciu.
The next time I make fiadone - with the authentic, creamy cheese that was meant as the main ingredient - it will be taken to another dimension!
The sunny Mediterranean island of Corsica is home to the small farms and producers of this unique, soft AOC cheese.
The process of making Brocciu is vastly different from that of other AOC cheeses.
Normally the lactosérum, or whey, a nutritional by-product of cheese making, is discarded. To make Brocciu, the whey is kept, heated and salted, then mixed with whole ewe's or goat's milk and heated again. The result is a lactose free, fresh, pale ivory cheese.
It is best eaten within a couple of days of production, however there is a version called Brocciu Passe that has been drained and aged for a few weeks.
a spoonful served with homemade sour cherry compote
Brocciu is mild and sweet and has a pleasant, milky aroma. The soft texture, somewhat like thick yogurt, makes for a delicious breakfast, especially when served with fresh fruit or honey. It is also a wonderful addition to many recipes such as omelets, tarts and cannelloni. And there's always that famous fiadone, which I'll be making again very soon.
Wines such as Corsican whites or fruity Beaujolais pair nicely with Brocciu.