Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Saint Angel a Beefed Up, Mushroomy Take on Brie ; Cheese of the Week

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Saint Angel a Beefed Up, Mushroomy Take on Brie ; Cheese of the Week

Article excerpt

Saint Angel

Aroma **

Taste ***

Price ***

Once again, I have glanced at a new cheese, assumed it was an imitation of a classic and passed it by, only to eventually find it is a wonderful and unique product in its own right.

In this case it is Saint Angel, which looks like a knock-off of the old favorite Saint Andre - and is indeed in competition with it for the decadent triple-creme Brie-type market.

Saint Angel (which, you have to admit, is kind of a goofy name, until you realize it is the name of a municipality in central France) looks somewhat like Saint Andre, much thicker than a traditional Brie with a white, bloomy rind.

The cheese is produced in France by the Fromagerie Guilloteau, where they also make d'Affinois triple-cream Brie-type cheeses.

Both Saint Angel and d'Affinois are modern cheeses made using the ultra-filtration process. This removes a percentage of water from the milk and concentrates it. The "stronger" milk is then mixed with heavy cream to increase the fat percentage to 75 percent in dry matter and the cheesemaking process continues.

Unlike Saint Andre, Saint Angel is molded into a square and usually sold cut into triangle shapes. It is also a bit thinner than Saint Andre, which, in part, gives it one really big bonus: Saint Andre usually will not ripen all the way to the middle until it is in severe old age and well past its peak as a whole. Saint Angel will ripen to the center, so the entire cheese is a glorious, gooey, almost runny mass. So much so that the package includes a stiff plastic strip along the cut edge to keep it from bulging and smearing onto its wrapping.

In flavor, it is the beefiest of the triple-cream Brie-style cheeses available locally, stronger than Saint Andre, d'Affinois, or Belletoile.

The description of the flavor on Fromagerie Guilloteau's website states it has ".. an inoffensive hint of mushroom-like flavor that becomes richer with age."

My cheese had a good bit of age on it, with moist beige areas over a wrinkly rind and a hint of ammonia setting in on the corners.

I like my cheeses older and stronger, and when I first tried this one, the mushroom flavor was so prominent I did a double-take to make sure I wasn't missing pieces of mushroom or truffle in the cheese. I wasn't. The taste also was quite tangy, with strong hint of fried egg.

The difference in flavor between Saint Angel and the others mentioned above is attributable to the addition of geotrichum mold spores to the white, fluffy penicillium molds used to ripen most Bries. Geotrichum is used more commonly on thick, runny French stinkers such as Epoisses and Chaource.

It provides the wrinkled surface in older specimens of Saint Angel, ripening power to get to the center of a thick cheese, and the stronger flavor. I had an inkling that this was the case, and finally found it to be true on a list of ingredients provided by peertrainer. …

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