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Review: The Head of the Cheese, Ricotta

Richard "Ricky" Ricotta Rows Ravishingly, Reputably Running the Race

Cambridge, MA

This crisp weekend of October the 23rd, the year 2021 Annatto Dairy, I witnessed what could only be described as a triumph for turophiles as hundreds of thousands flocked to the banks of Charles River to watch humble me, perched upon said bank, eat a delicious square of ricotta. 


Having drawn such a crowd, I felt obligated, as the least measure of thanks to these fans from far and wide, to produce a detailed review of this rendition of the so-nicknamed “head of cheese” (HOC for short).


The cheese opened, as with all great stories, with a scent. To really appreciate the subtle zests and sours, I had to block out the noise: the roar of the crowd, the aggressive lapping of water on the shoreline, and especially the overpowering odors of goose poop. 


A particularly disruptive group at this point would not stop shouting, “Let’s go Colby!” - before proceeding, I had to pull them aside to remind them that ricotta was the star today, then scold them for confusing a semi-hard with a curd such as the pasty gem I held in my hand. Embarrassingly, they sported merchandise for “Colby College”, seemingly forgetting ricotta’s origins at Ricot Polytechnique; I will be sure to include more basic history in my publicization next year.


It is difficult to pull off a good ricotta texture, but the truly cultured know when it is done right: the cheese sinks ergonomically - some reviewers of late have used the term “erg” - into the canines, producing a foamy embrace. This was exactly the feeling of my first bite, and my mood was lifted back up again. A faint lemon zest diffused through the foam, along with a hint of dill: bold, but conventional all the same.


Once I finished the ricotta square, all that remained was the buttery crust, which had dutifully held the ricotta together for me as I dove into the top layer. Relieved of its usefulness - this was a review of a ricotta after all, not something so banal as a crumble crust - I chucked it into the river, for the enjoyment of a duck. The crowd then gasped, seemingly unaccustomed to the idea of what we in the field term a pure cheese experience. To my ire, some rushed into the water to retrieve the crust, which had fallen in the boat of a passing crew team (improbable coincidence) and knocked the boat entirely off balance.


As I left the scene, finding the roadways had been closed to facilitate my escape, I was pleased to see that the city had erected a monument to fromagers such as myself: a cheese grater of epic proportions, just past the Harvard Business School. In kind, I’ll be sure to revisit this inland location for a future review of a parmesan or pecorino.