June 11, 2008

La Fête du Fromage - Brocciu

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.
Such naiveté.

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. Pin It


La Belette Rouge said...

It makes my Greek yogurt look really lame and pedestrian.

Jennifer said...

I loved the delicate flavor of this cheese!
Do you think you can find some over there?
The texture is more grainy than Greek yogurt, but not as grainy as cottage cheese.

La Belette Rouge said...

My last batch of Greek yogurt was really grainy, almost gritty. I didn't love it. But, I do like the texture of cottage cheese. Hmm...
I am going to see if I can find this at Whole Foods.

Anonymous said...

woot, woot for brocciu! (pronounced like the word broach) other common ways i've seen it used here are in farcies - tomato and zucchini being the most common.
i just wish it was cheaper to buy. unfortunately all Corse-made items are really spendy here on the island.

Danielle said...

I feel tempted to cry, "Jinx!" because I just wrote about fresh ricotta. You've piqued my interest in brocciu-- I'll try to make it the next time I have fresh whey.

I saw the Chez Loulou shout-out on David Levovitz's blog... cool!

Riana Lagarde said...

nice that you are making cheese! my friend angelina just posted about making cheese and so did Liz, it seems to be catching. and it is so fun, isnt it? i have to find a local source of goat milk so i am make some real good goat cheese moi-meme.

Jennifer said...

la belette
Weird. The Greek yogurt I've had here is smooth and really thick.
I hope you can find some Brocciu. If not, look for Brousse, which is the name for a similar cheese that isn't made on Corsica.

Yes, I've been mispronouncing! :)
Thanks for the info. I saw a zucchini stuffed with Brocciu recipe that looked fabulous. I'll have to try it.
I think I paid a couple of Euros for the little tub.

I didn't see that! Going to look right now.

Maybe you just looked at the photos and didn't read the post?
I didn't make the cheese, but tasted it for la Fête du Fromage.

Haven't jumped into making cheese yet. My neighbor and I want to try soon. He has more room in his kitchen and a good place for storing and aging.

Anonymous said...

I can't stop staring at that beautiful photo of the cherries and cheese....


Jennifer said...

Those cherries were such a beautiful color! They were absolutely delicious with that cheese, too.

Clairette said...

I just made a corsican fiadone for dessert made with brousse (similar to brocciu but made from cow's milk, not ewe's). Yumm, good ! I hope to be back in Corsica when I can get fresh brocciu (winter, spring) to have it again (with corsican lemons too!)
Pace e salute.

Jennifer said...

I so rarely see Brocciu, so have to settle on Brousse, which is also delicious.
Please enjoy some Brocciu for me the next time you're in Corsica!