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Creamy, Decadent, Delicious: Debunking Butterfat

If you’ve been spending the afternoon browsing our extensive, mouthwatering cheese library, you may find it hard to believe that all those varieties come from one basic ingredient. But depending on what type of milk is used, how much whey is drained off, and the length of the aging process, different cheeses have different proportions of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. It might sound super science-y, but it’s worth getting familiar with macronutrient ratios, as they can tell you a lot about a cheese’s taste, texture, and mouthfeel. So let’s talk about one of the factors than can make a an already swanky dairy product all the more decadent: butterfat.

Certain bloomy rind cheeses have cream added before the curd is formed, and are classified as double or triple cream cheeses, depending on their percentage of butterfat. Double cream cheeses contain between 60-75% butterfat, and include many varieties of Brie, and American original Cremont. The triple cream designation is reserved for cheeses like Delice de Bourgogne, Gratte Paille, and Pierre Robert that are more than 75% butterfat. 

High butterfat bloomy rinds are undeniable creamy, spreadable, and rich, but don’t let the words “75% butterfat” scare you; many soft, creamy cheeses actually have less total fat than their firmer cousins. As The Kitchn‘s resident cheese blogger explains,

Fat content in cheese is measured in parts per dry matter…Since so much of a soft cheese is actually comprised of water weight, the fat solids are significantly less than a hard cheese. Ounce for ounce, that brie is actually less fattening than the same weight of an aged gouda, which can pack in more fat per morsel because there’s virtually no moisture content.

But nit-picky health statistics aside, the luxurious quality of double and triple creams make them perfect for pairing with other fancy items at special occasions (or, you know, just another Tuesday night). Our friends over at Formaggio Kitchen recommend serving theses cheeses alongside fat-cutting effervescent wines:

Champagne or something bubbly is classic, particularly with the triple-crèmes. Pairing these cheeses with fresh fruits – like raspberries, mango or strawberries – is also strongly recommended. If you think about the classic Wimbledon trifecta – champagne, strawberries and cream – successful pairings for creamy cheeses tend to follow a similar pattern.

Try Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam with some cherry jam and a glass of Prosecco, and dare to tell us you don’t agree.

Photo credit: oksix/Shutterstock

Amanda Minoff

Amanda graduated from Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine with a degree in English Literature and Art History. She is a reader and writer of fiction and loves cheese that tells a good story.