All photos by Amy Strauss.
Philadelphia’s very own culinary pacesetters, Di Bruno Bros., recently dreamed up their latest innovative way to peddle thought-provoking cheeses. This October, in celebration of American Cheese Month, they’ve launched their new series, Custom Cheese Collaborations, which brings together national cheesemakers and regional beverage purveyors.
The end result? Creations that incorporate the very best of both worlds, exclusively available at Di Bruno Bros. locations and online.
Richard Morillo, Di Bruno aging expert, is partially responsible for this particular series. Morillo, who has operated a micro-aging program in Di Bruno Bros.’ Rittenhouse Square cheese cave for the past six years, has garnered cult-like attention for his limited aged cheeses.
Like any notable up-and-comer in the cheese business, he continues to refine his talents and has now outgrown his Di Bruno’s cave. This is why Di Bruno Bros. has expanded the in-house aging operation by going out of house and partnering with top cheesemakers.
For the first collaborative cheese of the series, they rallied Vermont’s esteemed Jasper Hill Farm and hand-selected its Willoughby cheese. Morillo and Emilio Mignucci, Vice President of Di Bruno Bros., then looped in York, Pa.’s Wyndridge Farm and its Crafty Hopped Cider, using the cider as the cheese’s bathe. The cheese-ager provided parameters for the washing and guidance on the aging process.
Wynd in the Willough, the exclusive name of the cider-washed soft cow’s milk cheese, bursts with blissful notes of sweet cream and intriguing layers of grassiness. While nibbling on the eclectic cheese, we found that the cider bath enabled the creamy delight to embody an attractive level of funkiness, which worked wonders with savory pairings of fig chutneys and mild, cured meats. Spread on a sliced baguette and drizzled with wildflower honey, it had a dreamy taste, and we found it equally remarkable when mating it with poppable kiwi berries.
It’s only proper to enjoy the wedges with a bottle of Wyndridge cider in hand. The snappy crispness and slight dryness of the hard cider enhanced the sweeter notes of the cheese and mellowed the funk. Overall, this collaborated cheese was ridiculously versatile when paired and was quite possibly our most interesting cheese experience to date.
While we are excited to see what other tantalizing pairings will develop for Wynd in the Willough, we can’t help but be delighted about the next collaboration in the works. Di Bruno Bros. is building monumental relationships with some of the country’s best artisans, and their next relationship is between Petaluma, California’s Andante Dairy and its washed-rind goat’s milk cheese—interestingly wrapped in spruce bark—which is to be paired up with Pennsylvania’s own Dad’s Hat Whiskey.
Find Di Bruno Bros. at one of five locations in Philadelphia (Washington Square West, Rittenhouse Square, the Comcast Building and the Italian Market) or in Ardmore in Suburban Square.
Stay up to date on Di Bruno Bros. latest cheese collaborations through their website, Facebook and Instagram.