We are cheese people. We can easily by-pass a candy store in favor of a cheese shop, especially a really good cheese shop. Italian delis are some of our favorite places to buy cheese, but we are trying to branch out beyond our usual mozzarellas, parmigianos, and provolones to ripe, stinky French cheeses, strange-sounding Swiss cheeses, and best of all, any of their counterparts, locally made.
On a weekend jaunt to the up-and-coming village of Brattleboro, Vermont, our cheese cravings were satiated by the fantastic selection offered by the welcoming and knowledgeable staff of the Brattleboro Cheese Shop and Cafe. The shop was busy and the cheesemonger did her best to meet everyone's needs while she made suggestions, wrapped purchases and created gorgeous cheese plates for sharing. We bought a beautiful fresh burrata made an hour away from the shop, plus some house-made tomato chutney to pair it with. Both of us had visions of the gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches we would make when we arrived back home.
We grabbed a rustic loaf from nearby Brattleboro bakery Amy's Bakery Arts Cafe, and when we got home, we laid our our purchases. The burrata was soft and pillowy, filled with curds, and reminding us of a delicately poached egg. We broke it open and used some of the soft curds and the outer, more-mozzarella-like layer to make a fancied-up version of mozzarella in carrozza*. It was fabulous. The tomato chutney had a deep, dark, slightly sweet richness about it that contrasted beautifully with the creamy burrata. The addition of prosciutto contributed a chewy texture and smoky flavor. Deep frying it to an eggy golden brown? Well, that's just good lovin'.
The next day, via email, we received a perfectly timed invitation to the Connecticut Cheese Festival to be held at the Coventry Regional Farmers Market on Sunday October 13th from 11 to 2. Tastings! Pairings! Classes! Food trucks! Even a cheese-wheel-rolling contest! We can't wait to see how our state's offerings compare to Vermont's. For more information about the festival, read the press release here. Hope to see you there!
*Note: "in carrozza" is Italian for "in a carriage" - the golden-fried bread being the vehicle for the delicious fillings. No chutney? Use your favorite preserves!
Burrata, Prosciutto and Tomato Chutney "in Carrozza"
Ingredients (per sandwich):
2 slices rustic bread
1 tablespoon tomato chutney
1/4 large burrata
1/4 large burrata
2 slices prosciutto
1 tablespoon flour
1 egg, beaten
oil for frying
Fill large skillet or frying pan 1/4 inch high with oil and heat. Spread one slice of bread with chutney or preserves and cover with folded prosciutto. Break open the burrata and spread some of the curds onto the sandwich; add some of the mozzarella as well. Assemble into a sandwich. Dip each side of sandwich first in flour, then in the egg. Fry in hot oil on both sides, until bread is golden brown and cheese is melted.