I am not a ricotta person. Despite past posts that may suggest otherwise, it’s always been more of a tool or sidekick to me in the past. It’s a crucial component in my lasagne; I love it as a vehicle on crostini for all manner of herbs and sauces, but ricotta on its own is generally my equivalent of a beige blazer (that is, boring).
Until I met Bella Casara Ricotta by Quality Cheese Inc. from Ontario (nominated in the fresh cheese category for the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix). I have to admit, I am not sure if this is the same ricotta as the one that one the overall Grand Champion title the last time the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix was held, in 2013. Both are made by Quality Cheese Inc., so it’s very possible, but this year’s nominee carries the Bella Casara label.
In any case, if it is the same cheese or similar, I can see why it won the overall title in 2013.
It was my favourite of the eight cheeses I tasted. And I say that as someone who doesn’t even like ricotta.
It boasts an incredible juxtaposition of somehow being light and weighty in an indulgent manner that you don’t often find with ricotta – my problem with it in the past is that so many ricottas just taste and feel like nothing in my mouth.
This ricotta has bold hints of sour cream and citrus (and not just because it’s decadent with lemon zest, above) and tastes almost floral. But the real win is in its texture. It has some density to it; it doesn’t feel as whipped and airy as other specimens, which can be both good and bad, but judging on its standalone merits, is fantastically good.
It’s almost like a tribute to cottage cheese, elevated.
How many snacks are built and packaged around the concept of indulgence for 100 calories or mouthwatering flavour with the calories of just three breaths of oxygen? I don’t know what the caloric content is like, so don’t misunderstand me and think I’m promoting it as a light snack, because I don’t know that it would be accurate.
But damn, the marketing geniuses hawking low-cal indulgence can learn a lot from this little baby’s repertoire. Never have I tasted a cheese with flags so firmly planted in the lands of both decadence and lightness.
This is the eighth profile of eight cheeses I tried ahead of the Canadian Cheese Grand Prix. Click here for more on the awards.