Because I’m still not supposed to bite into anything at this point and my pears were getting so ripe that they dripped juice when I cut into them, I needed to find a way to eat them soon. [Having memories from my childhood of the aroma of fermenting rotting pears (my parents still have a pear tree in their back yard), I am adept at picking up the point at which they become inedible.] Chewing the peel would, at this stage, still be kind of difficult. Baking them seemed to be a good way to work around these two issues.
When I lived in
, I had a friend who adored truffles, mushrooms and anything of that variety. He would gather up folks to make a trek outside the town were I lived to this restaurant that specialized in showcasing these foods each fall when they were in peak season. It was here that I first had white creamy cheese studded with black flecks of truffles. The marriage of dairy and fungus was heavenly to my tastebuds and senses, and it just melted in my mouth. Italy
This was an extraordinary food memory I filed away along with others from my time in
Europe. Then, a few years ago, at a wine and cheese catch-up evening with a few friends who’d also spent time in , I was reintroduced to this combo. I fell in love all over again. Fortunately, this time, I was able to get a name and tracked down this particular cheese at a gourmet shop. Sottocenere (meaning under ashes) has a dark, black coating, a white interior, and flecks of truffles embedded throughout. For this dish, I wasn’t able to locate it, so I found a substitute at my local Italian market. Italy