You'll never go wrong with buffalo's milk Quadrello, a cheesemonger favorite and party staple
by Brian RenoFebruary 2nd, 2015
The most unabashedly chic cheese in your cheese case. Drop the Taleggio and pick up the Quadrello!
- Food: Quadrello is big on buffalo milk fattiness, so get something sweet to pair with it. Harvest Song, from Armenia, makes an excellent Tea-Rose Petal preserve that underscores the sweetness of the buffalo milk and neutralizes the saltiness of the rind.
- Drink: Fatty and salty = cheese for beer. A fat chunk of Quadrello just looks appropriate next to a tall pint of Farmhouse Saison. A sparkling Lambrusco from Lombardia will also mellow out the saltiness and while the bubbles cleanse the palate.
Quadrello looks spectacular: a plump, clay square, crisscrossed with deep grooves and black insets like an African cowhide shield. Though Quadrello’s aroma is unapologetically beefy, brothy, umami-soaked richness drives Quadrello’s flavor profile, with occasional pleasing bursts of buttermilk and salt.
A Brief History of Quadrello
Quadrello is a weird hybrid of two different styles. It is a Northern Italian cheese, made exclusively by Caseficio Quattro Portoni in the Bergamo region of Lombardia, in the style of fellow Lombardian cheese Taleggio. But water buffalo milk is a distinctly Southern Italian flourish. Introduced to Italy in antiquity, the water buffalo is a specialty of Campania. So why raise Mediterranean buffalo in the foothills of the Italian Alps? The Gritti family has been in the dairy business for the past 40 years, but have only raised buffalo in the last decade. The Grittis soon realized the appeal of their North-South cheese synthesis, and their CowTown became BuffaloBurb. FUN FACT: Water buffalo milk is not a novelty. Water buffalo is an essential part of Indian, Southeast Asian, and Filipino agriculture, and 11% of total milk consumption worldwide is from water buffalo. Water buffalo candy is especially popular in the Philippines.
The Monger’s Cut
Quadrello is a cheesemonger’s dream: delicious, accessible, and loaded with a delicious backstory. In a country as terroir- focused as Italy, no one is combining two drastically different styles like Caseficio Quattro Portoni. There are very few buffalo milk products on the market in the United States, and Quadrello blows them all away. Quadrello’s unique cultural and culinary background is sure to provide plenty of conversation fodder at your next dinner party.