Many love letters to La Tur have already been written. From those running specialty-cheese sites to food bloggers, everyone seems to agree this is a cheese that makes taste buds swoon.
It originates in Piedmont, Italy's famous wine region, produced just south of Alba in the town of Bosia. Visually, it is a lovely cheese – the rind has a golden hue and the downy-white coating has a delicate texture, wrinkled like a soft, luxurious fabric. Weighing in at about 240 grams, or about the size of a tennis ball, it makes the perfect one-stop meal for two (or one, if you're greedy like myself).
With its bloomy exterior and semi-soft texture, you might mistake La Tur for a mellow, tame variety. But due to its balanced combination of three types of milk (goat, sheep and cow), this cheese holds full and complex flavours. It smells of mushroom, rich sour cream and yeasty dough. As it ripens from the outside, the exterior becomes silken and oozy, remaining firmer in the centre, but with a light, whipped texture. It has a noticeable tang with earthy notes, mineralility, and a rich, salted-butter finish.
La Tur is a delicate cheese. To maintain its high moisture level (which is responsible for the luxurious texture), the curd is gently handled and put into moulds where it is allowed to drain naturally and then ripen 15 days before being sold. (Firmer cheeses are usually pressed, either manually or mechanically, to release even more whey.)
To top it off, it comes packaged in a white, cupcake-like wrapper that will make you seriously reconsider your upcoming birthday cake request. It would look perfect beside a candle and a glass of bubbly. Just remember to let it come to room temperature before digging in to properly enjoy the aroma, flavour and creaminess.
Sue Riedl blogs about cheese and other edibles at cheeseandtoast.com.