,So, there's blended Scotch, and then there's blended cheese. Take Bellavitano, a Parm-cheddar hybrid created by Sartori, a third-generation cheese company from Plymouth, Wis. It has the sweetness of a Parmesan alongside the sharpness of a cheddar, and its texture is somewhere in between: flaky and firm, not rock-hard.
I was curious about this award-winning brick, which Sartori developed for its stable of "reserve" cheeses, which includes a raspberry cheese made with New Glarus Brewing Company "Raspberry Tart" beer.
Bellavitano is an interesting cheese. Does it live up to its hype? No, not in my book. Maybe I'm a grumpy puss, but I'd rather eat a killer Parm or a really good bandaged cheddar, rather than fusion-käse.
Bellavitano has a sour, faintly yogurty aftertaste. The sharpness is excellent, the sweetness a little too sweet, perhaps. When I loaded it into an omelet, it melted well but didn't retain much flavor. Alongside a bowl of salty split-pea-and-ham soup, it was at its best. It also paired well with meaty green olives and crispy flatbread. In fact, it's the only cheese I know of that actually tastes better when eaten on a cracker.
I'm always up for trying a new cheese, but I guess I'm a purist. Some things, like a fruity Parm and a sharp cheddar, are simply good enough in their true forms. There's no need to cross-pollenate.
Tenaya Darlington blogs about cheese at Madame Fromage.