Among verdant steeped slopes, dotted with grazing goats, sheep and cows, Caseificio dell’Alta Langa is nestled within the northwest of Italy’s boot, in the midst of the lush hills of Piedmont. Caseificio dell'Alta Langa translates to ‘dairy of the Alta Langa,’ referencing the picturesque terroir celebrated for sublime cheeses, truffles, and fine wines. Alta Langa’s terrain keeps commercial operations at bay – reinforcing the perception of the region as uncontaminated by modern complications. Founded in 1880, the dairy is fondly stewarded by a 5th generation of Merlo family cheesemakers, a clan steeped in the love of music, family, and – naturally – remarkable food and wine. Caseificio dell’Alta Langa is the principal producer of traditional cheeses from the Piedmont region, concocting their own terroir-rich cultures in house, and ladling each and every cheese by hand. The result of these time-honored traditions? A sincerely impressive array of ‘softies’ that reflect nuanced milk blends and cultures – and each with a delicious, edible rind. Today, their work not only carries on the traditions of their ancestors, it allows them to share something singular with the rest of us. Antonelli’s is honored and delighted to feature this one-of-a-kind experience from Caseificio dell’Alta Langa; so come along and – as the Italians say – let’s see “what’s boiling in the pot!”
Not your usual brie-style cheese, this cupcake-shaped button embodies the harmony of pasteurized cow’s, sheep’s and goat’s milk, and comes to you runny and oozing around its edges – exactly the way it was intended. Alta Langa’s gentle, low and slow pasteurization techniques preserve a tantalizingly tangy flavor profile – after just 10 to 15 days of aging! Handmade from start to finish, curds drain naturally, allowing for supremely high-moisture content throughout. The beauty of a mixed-milk cheese made with such care lies in the impressions made by its prime ingredients: the milks. Cow’s milk provides its reliably buttery baseline; sheep’s milk elevates La Tur’s palette-coating richness; while goat’s milk delivers a vibrant, bright zip. The initial impression of its cakey-dense center makes way for complex sensations touching on fresh white mushroom caps and a whiff of cellar. While our cherished “gateway cheeses” will never be forsaken, LaTur signifies a graduation to the higher heights of brie-style cheeses. Caps off to you, graduate!
Open up the palate for La Tur with sips of heavenly Tintero Moscato D'Asti, and further engage this intense interplay with Goat’s Milk Chocolate bites from Dark Forest.
When gauging a new restaurant, you may have that one dish that allows a greater impression of the establishment’s capabilities (if they can make a decent Caesar, they can likely pull off a fabulous pasta). Italian cheese connoisseurs might size up Alta Langa in the same spirit – by sampling their robiola. Alta Langa will not wince in the face of such scrutiny, offering up a remarkably creamy and refined Robiola, composed of blended cow and sheep milks. An Italian cheese of the Stracchino designation, Robiola is typically made with varying proportions of cow's, goat's, and sheep's milk, and it is ubiquitous throughout the Piedmont region. Visually striking with a dewy, satiny exterior, it is purely decadent ooey-gooey gratification throughout. Aged 30-60 days, this cheese develops a lustrous texture within its supple, blonde paste. Sheep’s milk makes its sweet, velvety contribution to the cow milk foundation, resulting in vaguely floral hints preceding a bold, nutty finish.
A discerning Robiola aficionado will tell you that something pickled is a perfect pair to Robiola – and what better than Castelvetrano olives. (Keep the sweetish ambrosia of Tintero Moscato D'Asti flowing for this one!)
Washed periodically during aging with a brine of water, salt and annatto, Il Canet is mild enough to be thought of as a ‘starter’ washed rind. Annatto, typically found in cheddars and goudas, is a naturally derived coloring from the achiote plant that adds visual intrigue to Il Canet’s sunset-hued rind. Aged about 20 days, this cheese develops subtle, savory flavors based within the brightness of goat’s milk and tempered by the rich, even creaminess of cow’s milk. Like many traditional European creameries, Alta Langa discerningly selects only the finest milks from old-world cooperatives that are but a stone’s throw away. With the introduction of a custom cocktail of Alta Langa’s closely-guarded cultures, vegetal notes such as grass, artichoke and asparagus emerge from underneath Il Canet’s subtly funky rind. Described by one cheesemonger as a “Hot Pocket of goodness,” its ivory-tangerine-hued rind gives way to a melt-in-your-mouth center paste that reveals hints of spice and smoke.
Classic Italian ales like Peroni and Moretti are a lovely companion here, as well as crisp sparkling mineral waters. Drape Olli Sopressata over Il Canet for a midday Italian getaway.
Translating to “three milks with truffles,” Truf 3 Latti’s center paste is alluringly studded with Piedmont-harvested summer black truffle bits and encased in a delicious white-to-pale golden rind. A thoughtfully balanced cuvée of pasteurized cow, goat, and sheep milks forms a backdrop that invites distinctive rustic notes to come front and center. Pleasingly curdy in texture, the paste offers up a fudgy, toothsome bite that reveals the earthy, multifaceted umami of black truffles. Alta Langa’s recipe calls for precise measurements of the three milk types (a closely guarded secret), teasing out ideal expressions from their unique features. Truf 3 Latti’s texture is so delicate, it almost seems to evaporate on the palate – but the impression it makes lingers pleasantly. This cheese exudes the unfussily elegant sensibility of Piedmont terroir within a nuanced reciprocity: each of the milks has its chance to catch the limelight, and aromatic truffle pungency never overstays its call.
Truf 3 Latti responds sublimely to the rosemary and lavender tones within Belial Sangiovese, a lighter-medium bodied red. Serve atop Divina’s France-made Mini Toasts for a picnic-perfect bite!