I needed to make a tartiflette last weekend and didn't have the resources to track down a Reblochon in Portland, so I decided to go rogue and look for some other way to impart that nutty, beneficent Savoyarde taste. I was looking for some other sweet and soft washed-rind cheese that would melt into my potatoes and lardons, and I thought that it wouldn't hurt to throw on a triple-creme as well. I decided on the Casatica di Bufala, a water buffalo milk cheese that's a little younger than Reblochon, aged for 3-4 weeks instead of 6-8. I picked the triple creme (Saint-Andre from France) to add some of the pungency and runniness that the younger Casatica wouldn't have developed yet. Here's a ridiculously large photo so you can imagine how some thin slices may have melted down alluringly to the nether-regions of the tartiflette:
Because the Casatica is from water buffalo milk, it's sweet - it reminded me of honey, or even creamed honey. The cheese was soft but firm as it warmed up; still too young to be oozing. Towards the exterior the pâte became looser and more fungal; definitely some heady flavors developing there. I felt it to be very velvety with an appetizing bloomy rind. Next time you crave some Mozzarella di Bufala, think of trying it with the Casatica di Bufala (or just get the Casatica instead) and you'll be able to see how the aging process brings out the rich, sweet flavor of the water buffalo milk that is also seen in the fresh mozzarella.