On this day -- March 9, 1839 -- "The Great…
This is a new favourite cheese of mine: “Brigitte” from Best Baa Dairy in Conn, Ont., just a few minutes north of Fergus. It’s ooey-gooey delicious and a real, bona fide treat.
Brigitte is made with Reblochon in mind. The famous French cheese from Savoie has a great story to accompany it — and it applies here too, at least to an extent.
The French myth is that dairy farmers and cheese makers screwed the tax man by pretending that the cows had been fully milked. The taxman, always looking greedily over the farmers’ shoulders, was satisfied and went away thinking he had everything that he was owed.
The crafty farmer? Well, he then returned to the cow and got just a bit more milk from her. And from that was made the “reblochon” — higher in butter fat and even more delicious and used to satisfy his family.
Reblochon — made with this “second milking” — gets its unique flavour from the process: the myth deepens that there is a word, in the vernacular in Savoyard, “reblessa” which means “to steal.” It adds another great layer to the story.
Best Baa Dairy, in collaboration with Ewenity Cooperative, takes a second milking from sheep to produce Brigitte. It’s a soft cheese with a bone-coloured paste and a lightly golden rind that is washed. The disk is aged for about six weeks and the angels trumpet when it is done: beef-like, slightly sweet and headily aromatic, Brigitte is nutty and has a bit of tanginess.