Ubriaco, The Doldrums Chaser

! IT-1028

Now that the holiday parties are over and more sleet is in store, a person can easily turn gloomy. If you find yourself prone to despair, I suggest a nice wedge of Ubriaco as a cure-all.

Ubriaco, which means “drunken,” is a cheese that understands darkness. It spends months in a wine barrel before it comes to market. Originally, Italian cheesemakers hid wheels from tax collectors this way in order to avoid their fees. Eventually, these drunken cheeses became popular. Lucky for us.

If you look closely at the surface of Ubriaco, you can see its archaelogy – it’s pitted from grape seeds and deeply colored from months of marinating. The paste beneath the rind is firm, creamy, and sweet with a boozy aroma that’s head clearing. I like to keep a wedge under a cheese dome so I can steal whiffs throughout the day.

Ubriaco is bathed in different styles of wine, depending on the maker. In winter, Ubriaco Prosecco is especially good for brightening a sallow complexion. A trace of effervescence lingers in the rind. The lactic flavor pops.

Try this on a cheese board with dried figs and spiced walnuts, or mix it up with other cheeses that play off the fermentation theme, like Isle of Mull Cheddar, which smells like a grainery, or Frumage Baladin, which is chock full of spent barley.

As long as you’re going down the road of drunken cheeses, pick up a wheel of brandy-washed funk, like Epoisses, along with a hunk of booze-soaked blue, like Valdéon. Then, open the door to your house and invite all your neighbors to come in and swoon.

For more cheese red light therapy, please visit Madame Fromage.