Florette is one of those pleasant surprise cheeses that comes along occasionally here at the store. It's definitely a goat cheese (chevre) but its wininess outweighs its goatiness making it acceptible to a larger cross section of customers. That wininess also makes it a natural playmate with red and white wines and ciders.
Florette is one of more than twenty similarly styled soft cheeses produced by Fromagerie Guilloteau (est.1983) in the French Rhone Alps. Guilloteau has been so successful with their efforts they opened a second production facility at Pellusin to go with the original at Belley. The flagship cheese at Guilloteau is Fromager d'Affinois, a pasteurized double cream cow milk counterpart to Florette.
Brie, by the way, is a town in central France, so technically Guilloteau makes soft ripening cheeses and not Brie. They also make their cheeses using the "ultrafiltration" process for removing water from milk prior to conversion into curds, a process traditional Brie does not use. In the process milk fat is broken down into smaller globules creating a smoother curd resulting is a gooier paste. There are two beneficial results from this process. The cheese retains twice the nutrients and proteins that traditional Brie lacks and ultrafiltration speeds up production from the traditional six to eight weeks to just two weeks.
Florette comes to us in a one kilo octagonal wheel with a brightly colored goat graphic label affixed to the top. In production the outside of the cheese is coated with Penicillium Candidum which creates the typical bloomy white rind for many soft ripening cheeses. Once it's cut into, the ooey-gooey, unctuous paste oozes more than most Bries but does not repel with goaty aromas like most Chevres do.
The delicate flavors of Florette are mild and subtle, sweet, and herbal. They are also "forward" and refreshing. While Florette scores high in nutrients like calcium, its lusciousness betrays its high saturated fat content. Florette shows well when spread on baguettes, with a salad, fruit or dessert, warmed over fresh vegetables, or as a component on a cheese tray. However it is served, my preferred beverage accompaniment would be a medium bodied dry white wine.
Please join us here on Friday November 14th when David Hobbs of Prime Wines presents the French country wines of Handpicked Selections and the wines of Ventisquero of Chile. There should be at least eight wines on the tasting table and all are priced under $15/btl and the cheeses will be set out as usual.