What Is The Mysterious Purple Rind Cheese?

What Is The Mysterious Purple Rind Cheese?

Everyone loves to try something different, and cheese that is an unusual colour is no exception. In this article, we take a look at four popular kinds of cheese that have a purple rind. 

How does Cheese get a Purple Rind?

Cheeses that have a purple rind are often semi-hard or hard cheeses. This means that they have matured for a longer time, usually a minimum of 6 months. The majority of purple cheeses have been washed or soaked in wine, which creates a deep colour and well as enhancing the flavour.

Everyone loves a cheese and wine pairing, but what if you could combine it into one with wine-soaked cheese?

Wine soaked cheeses came about during the times when there were high tax penalties on cheese and wine products. To avoid paying a lot of tax on their products, cheesemakers would hide the cheese inside the wine barrels. Then it was removed once it was ready to be eaten. Since the cheese was left in the barrels, the cheese absorbed the wine and created a strong flavour on the rind of the cheese. 

Examples of Purple Rind Cheese:

Murcia al Vino:

Murcia al Vino is the most common wine-soaked cheese available. It is made in Spain with goat milk. The goats feed off wild herbs and grass-grown near the Mediterranean. This produces heavy, rich and fatty milk. Soak the cheese in red wine for 48-72 hours at a time to create a strong sweet rind, leaving a salty creamy white interior. ‘The Drunken Goat’ is the nickname for Murcia al Vino.

cheese with purple rind
Murcia al Vino is a popular purple rind cheese.

Occelli al Barolo:

This cheese may be considered the best of the lot, due to its rich flavour, intense colouring and beautiful textures. Occelli al Barolo is made in Italy, and made with either a combination of cow and ewe milk, cow and goat milk or even just cows milk, depending on which milk is perfect at the time. 

Whilst also soaked in red wine, Occelli al Barolo takes it one step further, the rind is coated with grapes leftover from Barolo wine production. This edible rind creates a sweet and rich flavour, enhancing the salty, buttery and creamy texture of the interior. 

Use Occelli al Barolo to create an exquisite cheese board and wow your guests. 

BellaVitano Merlot:

This new age cheese takes traditional methods to create new flavours. The Sartori family created the BellaVitano cheese range, a beautiful cheddar and parmesan hybrid cheese with the perfect balance of creamy sweet, and salty butter. One of their most popular flavours is the Merlot, soaking their wheels in a light coating of merlot. The sweetness from this edible rind provides a unique contrast to the salty flavours of the cheese. This is a great option for those who wish to try wine-soaked cheese however do not like the strong intense flavours that Murcia al Vino or Occelli al Barolo may provide. 

Midnight Moon:

Last but not least, we have Midnight Moon. This cheese strays away from the wine-soaked rind, as technically this cheeses purple rind is a wax coat and therefore not edible. This makes it a great option for those non-drinkers to fit in with the crowd. 

Midnight moon is a goats milk cheese that matures for a minimum of 6 months. It is a gouda style, beginning in the Netherlands before continuing its journey of maturation in California. Produced by Cypress Grove, this ivory-coloured cheese is covered in a wax rind, to protect the soft, sweet, buttery and caramel-like flavour on the inside. 

A great crowd-pleasing cheese that is a nice introduction to those wanting to try goats cheese.