Bruss is a fermented cheese spread made with grappa, typically produced in the Upper Langhe area. Apparently, its name comes from the local dialect and it means brucia or it burns because of the reaction everybody gets when they eat it ;)
It is so pungent that it gave origin to a local proverb: "only love is stronger than Bruss (cheese)".
Originally Bruss was born to recycle different cheese leftovers; these fermented in a clay pot with milk and grappa was used to stop the fermentation process. After a long aging period, the final cheese is creamy, pungent and hot.
As it was born as an homemade cheese, you can try and make it on your own: it's rather easy!
Just get some cheese, goat cheese is perfect, cut it in small pieces and put them in a jar you can seal. Before closing it, cover the cheese with some olive oil or milk or grappa. Invert the jar everyday for two weeks. For 7 weeks, invert it only once a week. You can actually age it up to 4 years!!
You'll finally get a thick light brown paste you can spread or use for dressings.
When you buy it, just know that different makers make it with different cheeses. Because of its
- color: varies from white to gray
- consistency: spread
- aroma: strong, pungent
- flavor: hot
- traditionally it was made with different kinds of cheeses but today only just one kind is used
- grappa was traditionally used to stop fermentation, however, today many producers use white wine and add herbs
Because Bruss is so pungent and hot, it is ideal to add to polenta, make bruschettas or spread on bread.
Medium-bodied red wines are its best match. Among the locally produced ones, Barbera is a great match!