Cheese!Of!The!Day!: Torta di Noci (Not a real cheese)

Libby and Aimee and I stopped in the Alpine Hut of Cheese for what will probably be the final time. Angela and Teresa and I posed for photos. Angela showed me a plastic sleeve in which they were keeping color proofs of my blog entries. Teresa asked whether we had any gourmet cheese shows in Washington. I said no. They gave me a package that blog reader Piero had mailed to me from Rome, in care of the Alpine Hut of Cheese, containing two Turin guidebooks. Grazie, Piero.

I had another list of cheese suggestions from Steven Jenkins, the Official Guest Cheese Commentator of these games, but the Hut didn't have much on the list, and we were making small talk the whole time, anyhow, rather than talking about cheese. A customer named Cristina told us her favorite offering was the Torta di Noci, a homemade mixture of Gorgonzola Dolce and Mascarpone with an internal layer of walnuts. Angela agreed. "Buono," she said. "Very, very buono." Cristina also raved about Castelmagno, as have several other folks I've met. I really do need to give it another try. The shop's owner tried to comp all of our cheeses for us, but we insisted that was impossible. Graft, and all. When we left, we all kissed, in the Italian style. My heart was heavy. Wheyed down.

"Those women are wonderful," Libby said. "I want to live here."

"I love it," Aimee said of the Olympics' Official Cheese Shoppe. "Quaint, beautiful, really nice people."

"It's wonderful," Libby said.

We tasted the Torta di Noci tonight. The Official Penultimate Cheese Tasting of these games. Gorgonzola is made in both Lombardy and Piedmont, and is obviously easy to find in the States. There are all sorts of similar Torti (?) made with Mascarpone that are available in U.S. gourmet food shops. They're used mostly as dessert-type cheeses, and I'm guessing real cheese lovers might turn up their noses at the stuff. But we needed a change of pace.

Mike Wise retched his portion out into a garbage can.

The comments:

Mike Wise: "Dude! [While guzzling water.] That is not cheese. I'm sorry. It looks like Tiramisu, but it tastes like the grossest thing I've ever had in my life. It makes Roquefort look manageable. I would eat two pounds of blue cheese before I'd eat one more little gram of that. Roberto Donna doesn't use this. That's what Roberto Donna gives his cats. It's the essence of Python urine."

Style writer Libby Copeland: "This is amazing. Oh my God, it's totally unbelievable. Gorgonzola and Mascarpone, it's so clever for them to put the two together. It's really, really good."

Nationals beat writer Barry Svrluga: "It doesn't have as much bite as I thought. As a dessert, it makes a pretty good cheese."

Brilliant writer and budding cheese expert Sally Jenkins: "Very curious. The Mascarpone softens the Gorgonzola. It's satiny. Almost tastes like liquor. The Gorgonzola has a slightly boozy taste. And then the Mascarpone takes all the toughness out of it, makes it dainty. It should be served on a doily."

Me: "[Out of cheese words temporarily.]"

Did anyone go to the curling open house in Laurel today? Any reports?

I also have a excess of Olympic pins, which I hate (both the excess and the pins). Today I'm trying to ditch a Denver Post pin, a Visa pin and an Italy ski boot pin. The first three people to e-mail me the correct answer will have their fill.

Sweden, which I hereby predict will lose Sunday's men's hockey final, is fourth on the list of Olympic men's hockey silver medals. What are the top three nations in Olympic men's hockey silver medals? Put hockey or something like that in the subject line.

By Dan Steinberg |  February 25, 2006; 4:45 PM ET
Previous: Hail to the ginger-flavored hazelnut-accented chocolate truffle | Next: On Mike Wise eating dog food, curling and EU language statistics

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Hey, at the start of your blog entries a couple weeks ago, I suggested your blogging about wines or beers. Certainly, you've had your share (Club Bud, All those Houses).

Posted by: Tom | February 25, 2006 06:41 PM

Mike Wise's cheese comments shouldn't count towards C.O.T.D. I've witnessed him tasting a Milk Bone before! no joke!

Do the GMU and GWU reports(by the way they won @ Fordham-78/67)count for some pins here?!

Posted by: Wise Girls-DC | February 25, 2006 06:46 PM

Did anyone go to the Potomac Curling Club open house? Did they ever! Thursday night we had about 250 people stop by for a curling lesson, and today (Saturday) we had another 600 or so. It's quite unbelievable. When will we see *you*?

Posted by: Michael Fry | February 25, 2006 08:34 PM

I wounder if Sally had any wine with that cheeseie article she wrote about Bodie. One mold doesn't fit all and I'm tired of writers determining how hard others try. The Bodie . com bits that told young athletes to keep playing even if you can't win was a breath of fresh air in a time of media required winning is all there is.

Posted by: Joe Monaco | February 26, 2006 08:13 AM

Sad to read that your cheese-tasting adventures are coming to an end. I would really kick myself on the head for not suggesting you before to visit "Andiamo in Cittą", the food shop in Via Della Consolata (few steps away from "Il Bicerin") dedicated to all edible things coming from the Valli Di Lanzo (the best mountain area aroun Torino, unfortunately totally forgotten from the Olympics). If you're not leaving too soon Monday morning, try to chek it out. No cheese lover can go away from this city without tasting some real Toma di Lanzo or Toma del Lait Brusc!

Posted by: Luca Signorelli | February 26, 2006 09:16 AM

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