Triple Cream (Burgundy II)
This is the second post from our short trip to Beaune and the Burgundy region. Read the first installment here.
As far as I can tell, there is no more individually decadent product in the world than a triple crème cheese. It’s a fat-enriched loveliness (the milk solids have a whopping 75% fat content) is not just an unqualified diet buster, but a veritable ode to French gastronomy.
Triple creams were first made in the 19th century as a step up from double creams of the day. One of the most famous is Brillat-Savarin, so named by the renowned fromager Henri Androuet in honor of French gourmand Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. Originally made in Normandy, these days it is produced in Burgundy and it thus, as you’ll see in the pictures below, figures prominently on cheese plates in region’s restaurants. It’s also known as Délice de Bourgogne in formats larger than 500g. Sinfully creamy, this mild ever-so-slightly sour cheese just melts delightfully in your mouth.
Similar to the Brillat-Savarin is the equally unctuous Délice de Pommard. Created in the 1970s by the Beaune-based Fromagerie Hess, it enrobes the triple cream in one of three different flavors, the most common of which is mustard bran, the outer part of the seed that comes off after it’s crushed. The cream is a willing palate that absorbs the gentle flavor of the mustard bran.
The only downside to triple creams is that they are fantastically rich. I accept that some won’t see this as a problem, but I needed something to cut the fat. Champagne, or Crémant de Bourgogne, what they call sparkling wine in Burgundy, works a treat.
There are of course other varieties of triple creams in and out of France, including Italian mascarpone. I can assure you I’ll be looking out for them.
By the way, Brillat-Savarin sounds like my kind of guy when it comes to his feelings about cheese. He 1848 book the Physiology of Taste has a chapter entitled:
"Un dessert sans fromage est une belle à qui il manque un œil."
... which translates to
"A dessert without cheese is like a beautiful girl who is missing an eye."
About the Cheeses: Brillat-Savarin
Milk: Cow, whole, raw (pasteurized for export)
Defining characteristics: Bloomy rind like brie, but lighter and enriched so that around 75% of the milk solids are fat. Utterly creamy, with a slight sour taste.
Traditional accompaniments: You can’t go wrong with a fresh baguette, and I’ve read that dates pair nicely as well. Champagne or Crémant de Bourgogne is a perfect complement that also helps cut the richness. If you’re not inclined to drink alcohol, a café au lait works too!
Origin: Normandy and Burgundy regions mainly, though my fromagerie has one from Seine-et-Marne in the Île-de-France (Paris) region.
Recipes: Brillat-Savarin desperately wants to go on a bagel or accompany smoked salmon with some capers and finely chopped shallots. The Délice de Pommard might do just as well, although the mustard bran makes it a winner with charcuterie, and particularly pastrami!