La Tur is a super creamy, soft Italian cheese made from a mix of cow, sheep, and goat milk. This lesser known cheese variety is from the Piedmont region in northern Italy, and is typically sold in small, cupcake-sized wheels.
- Milk source: cow, sheep, and goat
- Country of origin: Italy (specifically the Alta Langa region of Piedmont, in northern Italy)
- Texture: smooth, creamy, buttery
- Taste: buttery and rich, with some earthy funk from the molded rind, and a little acidic tang from the goat's milk
- Aged: for ten days
- Color: a clean white rind with a buttery, pale golden interior
- Rind: soft-ripened, eatable
What is La Tur Cheese?
The easiest way to describe La Tur to a friend who doesn't much about cheese is to call it an earthier, funkier brie—with a hint of tang. Like brie at room temperature, it's soft and ooey gooey. The soft, moist rind is completely edible, and a delicious part of the cheese. Unlike your typical brie, it has a little more of that earthy, yeasty flavor, with a little tang from the goat's milk. It's full-flavored, without crossing over into pungent territory.
This cheese is made by a dairy called Caseficio dell'Alta Langa located in Northern Italy's Piedmont region; the specific area is called Alta Langa, which is known for its sparkling wines.
La Tur is representative of Piedmont's Robiola style of cheese, which is generally soft-ripened—this just means the rind is soft and can be eaten. These cheeses are also called bloomy rind cheeses, which refers to the "bloom" of good bacteria that creates their distinctively delicious and soft rind. These cheeses are not aged very long, and are enjoyed after only a few weeks.
A combination of cow, goat, and sheep's milk goes into La Tur cheese. To start the ripening process, the trio of milks is lightly pasteurized at a low temperature. This helps the natural microbes from the milks enhance the cheese's final flavor, keeping some of that earthy quality.
Next, the curds are ladled into molds, where they drain under their own weight before aging. As opposed to pressing, which uses weight to get rid of whey in the curds, this process allows for a higher-moisture, more fragile cheese to develop. The cheese then ages for a total of 10 to 15 days.
Usually specialty cheese shops or your local Whole Foods should have La Tur. If you can't find it, however, you could substitute a brie in its place on a cheese plate. La Tur is more complex than most bries because of its mix of different milks. However, choosing a goat's milk brie can mimic some of the flavor complexity, acidic finish, and funk. As with La Tur, or really any soft cheese, be sure to let it come up to room temperature before consuming. This will allow the full range of flavors to shine, and will showcase its magnificent creamy texture. Leave your cheese on the counter for one hour, give or take, before digging in.
Unlike other Italian cheeses like Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino Romano which are used in cooking, La Tur is best eaten fresh, as on a cheeseboard. Consuming it at room temperature showcases its flavors and textures the best. You will want to serve it on crackers or bread, because of its runny texture. Its salty, slight funk pairs well with a slightly sweet cracker, such as one studded with raisins. It also does well on Carr crackers or French baguettes. It pairs wonderfully with sparkling wines, especially those from the Alta Langa area in Italy's Piedmont region. The bright fizz of these wines cut through the rich tang of this magnificent cheese; any Champagne, cava, or Prosecco is also excellent.
La Tur needs to be refrigerated, due to it being a soft-ripened, young cheese. It can keep in the fridge for several weeks, with its flavor getting more funky the longer it is aged. Be sure to let it come up to room temperature by leaving it on the counter for at least an hour before you consume it.
Although La Tur is best eaten fresh, and quite simply on crackers or bread, you could also substitute it for brie in any recipe. Keep in mind that La Tur sold in smaller wheels, so you'll need to buy a two or three to substitute for a standard wheel or larger wedge of brie. Because of La Tur's earthy, lightly tangy quality, it is paired well with sweeter ingredients, such as apple, raisin, or even cinnamon toast.
- If you're buying cheese in person (as opposed to ordering it online), don't be afraid to ask for a sample to see if you like it first. This is a customary practice at good specialty cheese stores, as well as at higher-end groceries like Whole Foods.
- If you're feeling experimental, buy two or three packages of La Tur. Eat one on the first day or soon after, eat the second a week later, and the third a week after that. (Be sure, of course, that you don't exceed the expiration date.) La Tur is a young cheese that will continue to ripen in your fridge, resulting in flavor changes. It'll get more earthy and funky as time goes on. This is a fun way to experiment with cheese.
- Refrigerate your La Tur immediately after buying it, just like you would any soft-ripened cheese. However, don't forget to let it come up to room temperature before consuming it.
- La Tur is made with animal rennet, so some vegetarians may choose not to eat it.