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Fior d’Arancio Blue Cheese - An Exquisite Holiday Centerpiece

Fior d’Arancio is inspired by the cheese making oral traditions passed down from one Venetian farmer to another. During World War I, Italian farmers would try to hide their food and cheese from invading Austrian soldiers. One of the spots they chose was inside empty wine barrels. After the soldiers left, the farmers took their cheese wheels out of the barrels to find them sweeter in flavor with the outer rind tinted by the wine.

It was through this story that cheesemaker Sergio Moro got the inspiration to create a wine-soaked cheese. He had already transformed what his grandfather started as a small dairy farm into a factory specializing in the production of farmstead cheeses. The cheeses made were guided by the same principles as were passed down from previous generations.

Sergio started with trying to find the perfect wine to wed with a blue cheese. Fior d’arancio translates to "orange flower," which is also the name of the sweet dessert wine used to make this cheese. Made with 100 percent yellow Moscato grapes, Fior d'Arancio wine has a DOCG (Denominazione di Origine Controllata e Garantita) designation and is made locally to the Moro Formaggi. This wine stood out because of its beautiful golden color and intense aromas of lemon, tangerine and white peach. With such a strong, sweet and citrus flavor profile, the blue cheese does not have an overly funky or off-putting odor that many other washed rind cheeses develop over time. It smells fresh, fragrant and floral, creating a beautiful sensory experience when eaten.

After selecting the perfect wine, Sergio set to work on making his farmstead blue cheese. Using milk from both Alpine Brown and D’Oropa cows, both of which have great butterfat and protein content for cheese production. While the actual process itself is a closely guarded secret, the basics are straightforward: after the wheel takes shape and the blue mold cultures are added, holes are drilled into the wheel. Fior d’Arancio wine is then poured over the top of the wheels and wrapped in linen cloths. Through osmosis, the cheese absorbs the perfume and aroma of the wine while aging on wooden planks for 30 days. They are then topped with glacé orange peels for additional flavor and aroma.

The flavor and texture created in the cheese are unlike any other blue available. It has strong citrus and fruit aromas in addition to those of honey and wildflowers. Fior d’Arancio is creamy and slightly crumbly when cut. It has the subtle tang normally found in blue cheese, yet it is balanced with the freshness and sweetness from being steeped in a Moscato. Unlike any other blue cheese out there, this is a perfect dessert cheese or stand-alone star. The crumbly texture also work well in recipes, but this cheese is so good you’ll want it all on its own.

Display cover image source: Forever Cheese.


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