Di Bruno Bros. prepares inspired cheese pairings for Pope Francis [video]

What would you cook up if you had the chance to serve dinner to Pope Francis? We asked some of the city’s top chefs to weigh in. Here’s what they said.

This is part six in a series.

For the past 76 years customers have come to Di Bruno’s not just for the cheese, but for the expertise. And for Emilio Mignucci, third generation Di Bruno Bros. owner, pairings are part of the job.

When considering what he would present to Pope Francis, Mignucci took a few things into account. The languages he speaks — Spanish, Italian and German — and that he used to be chemist. That means he understands the way food interacts.

“We decided to put together flavors and tastes that would be something that would get his mind thinking about, wow, thats really creative ways to utilize cheese,” Mignucci said.

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Mignucci put together a trio of cheese pairings, each one influenced by a language Pope Francis speaks.

The first, a Manchego from Spain is topped with a puttanesca, a combination of chopped capers, roasted peppers and kalamata olives, a dash of tomato vinegar, and a Spanish boquerone, a white anchovy.

“The white anchovy is just laid on top of that bite,” Mignucci said. “It really gives it a whole new burst of flavor. Some people may say, ‘I don’t like anchovy,’ but this combination between the Manchego cheese, the peppers and the vinegar with the anchovy is fantastic.”

For the second pairing, Mignucci went with an Italian inspiration, the Testun al Brolo, which is a mixed milk cheese, packed and aged in Italian Barolo wine and Nebbiolo grapes. Mignucci then wraps each bite in prosciutto, a cured Italian beef, (with a hat tip to Argentina, which is well known for its high quality beef) and finished with a drizzle of balsamic glaze.

“There isn’t an exact recipe for their cheeses,” Mignucci said. “They mix the milk, the cow, the goat and the sheep’s milk, and they produce Testun which is basically an old Italian word for a ‘toma’ style cheese — a farmer’s mixed milk cheese.”

Last but not least, cheese for dessert. Ecuadorean cheese maker Arturo Chiriboga makes the Chiriboga Blue in Germany. It’s rich butter fat adds a delicate flavor, making it almost like an ice cream (and perfect for dessert). The Chiriboga Blue is sliced into triangles, and topped with wild, Amarena cherries. Mignucci scoops the Italian black cherries from a blue and white ceramic jar, and finishes the dish with just a drizzle of the cherry syrup to top it off.

“And if you have these left over at home and you’d like to make yourself a Manhattan, don’t be shy. These are great,” Mignucci said.

This is part six in a series.

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