The Cheesemonger: Tetilla
Producer: Various (Galencia, Spain)
Milk: Pasteurized Cow's Milk
Age: 2 months+
There are a few good lines in the world of cheese. "Cheese - milk's leap toward immortality" by Clifton Fadimon is one of the most well known, but, to me, no quote so accurately and lovingly describes an individual cheese than the Spanish saying that Tetilla "tastes of kisses". There is even a poem about the romance of Tetilla that you can read here.
It's not a stretch to see how this cheese inspires such sensual verse. For starters, it is shaped like a woman's breast. Some people, even the notable Steve Jenkins, refer to it as being shaped "like a Hershey's kiss." This seems to be more than a little prudish, considering the cheese's history extends back centuries further than the candy and the word tetilla means "nipple" in Spanish. Though these people seem reluctant to admit it, some cheeses, including Tetilla, are a bit erotic. The smell is of cream, fresh and milky. The taste is lush and mild with a nice salty tanginess that could be compared to a kiss. Though, to be honest, I think it has more in common with the flavor of decidedly unromantic sour cream.
To give "Hershey's kiss" people a little credit, Tetilla is also occasionally known as Perilla (or "pear"), so if they want to be stuffy, they can go there. Personally, I'm going to go a step further and say that many cheeses, not just Tetilla, can be romantic! Take triple-crèmes for instance: Pierre Robert, Brillat Savarin, and other similar cheeses are so rich and buttery, so well matched with a glass of champagne, the very definition of the perfect ending to a romantic meal at home. And what about fresh goat's cheese, drizzled with honey and served with a hunk of baguette on a picnic. As for Tetilla, it is begging for fresh berries and fruit and an equally young and fresh wine, a Sauvignon Blanc would definitely fit the bill. Spring is just around the corner, and this cheese will be waiting for you when it arrives!
Being one of Spain's D.O. protected cheeses, Tetilla has the backing of the Spainish government and the Spanish Trade Commission behind it, making it readily available in this country. iGourmet offers it at $9.99/lb. Murray's Cheese also has it for $8.99/lb. In Brooklyn, Cobblestone Foods carries it for $10.00/lb. These are not your only options, any cheese shop with a decent Spanish selection will be sure to carry it.