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Newsletter - January 2016

Cheese of the Month
Crescenza is one of those cheeses that no one has ever heard of but everyone loves when they taste it. It is a soft, fresh Italian cheese with a tart, clean flavor. It is similar to stracchino. Whenever we serve Crescenza at cheese tastings, this is the cheese that people invariably buy to take home. It is Italian in origin and made from cow's milk. We make Crescenza by adding cultures and rennet to pasteurized cow's milk. Once the curd coagulates, we cut it very slowly into big pieces using large perforated discs. As the cheese matures, we slowly and carefully turn the large curds with these same discs, taking care not to break them. When mature, the curds are poured into square cheese molds placed atop diamond-patterned mats. The cheeses are kept warm and turned every 30 minutes as they mature and drain. When unmolded our Crescenza has a diamond pattern from the mats on the top and the bottom. It is aged for a couple of weeks before it is sold. Our Crescenza has a slightly sour, somewhat yeasty flavor. It is very soft and creamy and spreadable. It melts beautifully. It is delicious with salted meats and olives. It is fabulous when accented with sweet chutneys or fruit pastes. It pairs nicely with both fresh and dried fruits and nuts. It is delicious with lighter and more acidic wines. Tony Mantuano at Spiaggia in Chicago uses our Crescenza for his famous ravioli topped with truffles.

Recipe of the Month
Crescenza in Carrozza
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons teaspoon minced fresh chives
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
8 ounces Crescenza
8 slices sandwich bread, crusts removed
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup mango chutney

Crack the eggs into a low-sided, flat bowl. Beat with a whisk for a minute until well beaten. Add the milk, salt, parsley, chives, oregano, basil, and rosemary and whisk to combine. Set aside. Slice the Crescenza into 8 slices each about 1/4-inch thick. Then cut the slices of cheese in half. Cut the slices of bread in half so that you have 16 rectangular pieces of bread. Lay eight slices of bread on a flat surface and distribute the slices of cheese atop the bread. Cover with the remaining eight slices of bread. Using your fingers, pinch the edges of the bread closed to contain the cheese. Pour the olive oil and vegetable oil into a medium skillet and place over medium heat. Heat the oil to about 350F. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, one by one, dip the sandwiches into the egg batter and coat them on both sides as well as the edges and then place the little sandwiches in the oil. Cook on one side and then the other until golden brown. Serve immediately. Pass the chutney in a separate bowl.

Serves 4