In order to create this Cheese 101 entry, I returned to Heinen’s and discovered two very unique cheeses in Cambozola Grand Noir and Bermuda Triangle. Thank you very much to the extremely helpful lady cheesemonger who helped assuage my concerns regarding Bermuda Triangle and its “freshness.” Once I arrived home, I realized that the Grand Noir is very similar to another cheese I previously wrote about, Cambozola Black Label. But more on that in a moment…
Cambozola Grand Noir
- Milk: Pasteurized Cow
- Producer: Käserei Champignon
- Country of Origin: Germany
- Region: Allgäu
- Family: Blue
- Type: Semi-Soft, Blue Veined
- Texture: Creamy
- Rind: Waxed
- Aged: Several Months
- Vegetarian: Yes
- Beverage Pairing: Auslese Riesling or Dopplebock beers (courtesy Heinen’s)
- Grade (Out of 5):
Grand Noir is a premium blue cheese encased in a black wax. The cheese is made with high-quality pasteurized cow’s milk from Swiss Brown Cows that graze in the Allgäu region of Bavaria, Germany. Grand Noir is an outstanding blue cheese due to its unique black wax coating: Each wheel is dipped by hand in black wax to protect the cheese as it ripens. This covering allows it to develop a silky and creamy texture, unique among blue cheeses. (Specialty Food)
At the end of May, I found Cambozola Black Label, a Brie-like blue cheese, at Heinen’s. I wrote that the flavor didn’t match the intoxicating aroma and gave it a grade of 3/5. Even with everything that I read online about Black Label, I don’t believe I spent enough time with Cambozola Black Label.
I mention that because I spent a great amount of time with Black Label’s cousin cheese, Cambozola Grand Noir, and fell in love with it. The aroma is just what you would expect from a blue cheese, however, the texture and flavor is not. The texture is extremely creamy, silky and delicious leading to mild flavor, except for when you take a bite of the blue veins.
Black Label vs Grand Noir
I can only assume, at this point, you are asking yourself, as I did personally many times, “what exactly is the difference between Black Label and Grand Noir?” Thanks to Heinen’s awesome cheesemongers, I can answer that. Black Label is a triple cream cheese (click the link to be thoroughly educated), like a Brie, giving it a creamy, sharper overall flavor. Grand Noir is younger and, therefore, more mild while still being creamy. Also, Black Label has “fine grey natural mould on the outside and the fine blue veins on the inside” (Kaserei Champignon) while, as stated above, the Grand Noir is covered in black wax.
After trying Grand Noir and falling in love with it, I definitely plan to sample Black Label one more time to see if my opinion has changed. Grand Noir’s texture really is the highlight of this cheese, enticing one to eat more. And more. If you are looking for something different in the Blue cheese family, I would definitely recommend Grand Noir.
- Milk: Pasteurized Goat
- Producer: Cypress Grove
- Country of Origin: United States
- Region: California
- Family: Brie
- Type: Semi-Soft, Soft Ripened
- Texture: Creamy, Crumbly, Soft
- Rind: Bloomy, dusted with vegetable ash
- Aged: 2 Weeks
- Vegetarian: Yes
- Beverage Pairing: IPA, Pale Ale, Stout, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel
- Grade (Out of 5): /
One of the more unique aged cheeses you’ll come across, Bermuda Triangle is a six-inch long triangular prism of pure white goat cheese. Its distinctive double rind — one of ash covered by a layer of velvety white bloom — encourages a firm, smooth interior, and clean flavors that showcase the high quality of the milk. A lovely cheese for portioning onto a cheese plate! (Cowgirl Creamery)
Bermuda Triangle was created in 1997 specifically with chefs in mind, since its triangular log format makes it ideal for slicing and provides interesting presentation on a cheese plate. For production of Bermuda Triangle, milk is pasteurized in a vat where cultures and coagulants are added and held for the acid ripening process. The mixture is then moved to a curd press where the whey is drained. The remaining curd is mixed with salt, hand-packed into cheese forms, ashed, and then sprayed with mold cultures. The cheeses spend eight days during primary ripening where they are turned daily after which they are “cold stabilized” for several more days before being wrapped and sent to market. (culture)
[Bermuda Triangle] is coated with a layer of edible black ash, sprayed with mould cultures and ripened / cold stabilized for several days before being sold in the market.
When young, the interior of the cheese is chalky white in colour with a smooth, firm and slightly crumbly texture. As it ages, the paste below the velvety white bloom rind starts becoming softer, lucid, and ultimately runny. (Cheese.com)
My version of Bermuda Triangle, as shown in the photo above in Heinen’s display, consisted of a young center that was surrounded by aged parts and the rind. Based on my research, the young/aged combination is not typical and somewhat unique.
Updated with comment from Cypress Grove:
@locavoreCLE Wowza! That is one ripe piece of BT! The photos on our site are of super fresh and young BT, but the creamline grows as it ages
— Cypress Grove (@CypressGrovers) September 6, 2016
The cheesemonger at Heinen’s emphatically told me that Bermuda Triangle was delicious. After my first couple of bites, I thought she was nuts. The cheese was extremely strong with a weird slimy texture. I was not impressed. That changed, however, as the cheese came closer to room temperature and I continued to sample.
The aroma of Bermuda Triangle is a tad tangy with strong “goaty,” earthy notes. The aged portion of the cheese does, in fact, have a unique texture but, after spending time with the cheese, I wouldn’t say slimy (which has a negative connotation) but instead, “liquidy.” The young portion was creamy and crumbly with a more mild flavor.
With this particular cheese, I wasn’t able to discern the finer flavors. Therefore, I will ask the Internet to help out…
The cheese displays tart and tangy with intense pepper notes, which become assertive as it ages. Bermuda Triangle goes well with candied fruit, spicy nuts, and pears. (Cheese.com)
Flavors of Bermuda Triangle are earthy and piquant. When young, the cheese is clean, bright and peppery due to the high rind-to-paste ratio. As it matures, flavors intensify and and can become quite assertive. (culture)Tart and tangy with intense pepper notes…(Cypress Grove)
I was ready to dismiss Bermuda Triangle after just a couple of bites simply because it was “odd.” I will never make that mistake again. After spending some time with this cheese, it truly grew on me, and, as I tend to say, intrigued me. I just now took another bite from the remaining chunk and was again impressed/intrigued. If you like goat cheese, I would highly recommend Bermuda Triangle. If you can, definitely try and find a chunk that has both young and aged portions, allowing you to compare them side by side.