This was one of the treats I picked up at the Taste of UMass trade fair and was very eager to get back and try with crackers and chips. I am a big fan of flavored cheeses and cheeses in general, especially Babybel and all Laughing Cow varieties. As a kid, I was addicted to the gourmet cheese cubes and have been trying to find them everywhere.This particular specimen is from Président, one of my favorite makers of Brie, and is a cheese spread with parmesan and peppercorns. I was a little skeptical about trying this because I was worried that the creaminess would detract from the pepper flavor, and that the peppercorns would be nothing more than a little more ground pepper than the average.The little packet is the perfect portion for dipping, though, and when I opened it, I was surprised to find a very spicy, freshly ground scent above the cheese, and then a mellow creamy undertone. The cheese was a little thick for my liking, definitely more of a thick, cream cheese than a whipped cheese spread that I could easily dip my crackers and chips into. That's typical of a Boursin or Rondelé, though. A lot of the foods I tested it with broke, and I wonder if it might be better to microwave or let sit out to room temperature beforehand. I think that I'd have preferred this on a sandwich or a bagel, as it didn't seem conducive as a dip. The flavor was sublime, though. There were at least seven crunchy peppercorns, which gave not only a burst of fresh spice, but a wonderful crispy texture to the cheese. Some dips and spreads have parm, but it's often a very subtle flavor. Not this one. Not at all. The parmesan was very sharp and tangy on the tongue, but was blended into the cheese so that it had a consistent texture.
Generally preferring a softer and less textured cheese, I don't know how inclined I'd be to buy this at retail price, but it's definitely an unusual flavor and texture combination that I'd love to see incorporated into the line of "Wee Bries" which I adore, to get the perfect consistency with the tangy flavorings.
Labels: 8, appetizer, cheese, dip, snack