Category Archives: * Swiss cheese

What to drink with cheese . . .

Oh the list is endless, needless to say if you like to drink something with some particular cheese then do it!
Don’t worry about what people tell you, everyone is different with our own tastebuds, of course there are suggested options that pair well but if their not to your liking do you own thing!

Here is what I’ve found works for me over the years, of course you may differ but that’s ok.

We’ll, start by working our way down the cheeses and I’ll suggest cheeses from the list that I personally think works best.

FRESH CHEESES

These are cheeses which have been produced and have had no aging, so no more than a week old and to be enjoyed soon after production. Like Mozzarella, Ricotta etc.

WHAT?

WINE
A fresh wine like a fruity Sancerre or refreshing Rose
BEER
A light refreshing crisp ale like a lager
CIDER
A fresh apple cider with a little sweetness
FORTIFIED
A Spanish Sherry with a little sweetness
SAKE
Either a dry refreshing Junmai Ginjo or a sweeter Umeshu

WHY?


With such fresh cheeses and gentle flavours it’s best to not have anything too overpowering. Anything with a crisp refreshing mouth feel that’ll match nicely with a gentle delicate flavoured cheese

WHITE MOULD CHEESE

All Brie & Camembert cheeses are classified as white mould cheeses, as well as triple cream Bries. But here they have been put into their own category below.
White mould cheeses are the most versatile of all the cheeses, they marry well with numerous beverages.

WHAT?

WINE
White wine of a dry and fruity nature such as Sauvignon Blanc & Rose
Dry barrel oaked wines such as Chardonnay
Full bodied red wines such as Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon
BEER
Crisp refreshing Pilsner style cheeses
Dark full bodied beers
CIDER
Classic savoury Normandy Cider
FORTIFIED
Port or Sherry
SAKE
Like wine, from the dry minerality to the sweet dessert wine style

WHY?

With a delicate interior of the cheese it pairs well with dry wines
More robust Bries such as Brie de Meaux can handle the stronger full bodied red wines
Fresh crisp beers can withstand the stronger style Bries & Camemberts
Dark heavier beers can give a coffee/chocolate & cream effect
Camembert & Cider both hail from Normandy making them a perfect match
The sweetness of a fortified can pair wonderfully with the creaminess of a white mould cheese
Sake like wine, will pair with all manor of white mould cheeses

CHEVRE/ FRESH GOATS CHEESES

The dry crumbly citrusy cheeses such as any Holy Goat cheeses from Victoria.
Or classic French Goats cheeses from the Loire valley such as the ash coated St. Maure, or Chabichou du Poitou.

WHAT?

WINE
A fruity wine, such as a Sancerre, Riesling, Sauvignon blanc, Un-oaked Chardonnay or fruity Rose.
An equally fruity sparkling wine such as a Champagne or sparkling wine from the Loire valley.
A sweet dessert wine, like a Late harvest Botrytis or similiar.
CIDER
French Cider, these tend to have more savoury apple notes than the sweeter versions outside of France
BEER
A crisp fresh Pilsner, Wheat beer with more malty notes such as a Kronenbourg Blanc.
SAKE
Junmai Ginjo – A fruity and semi dry Sake, similiar to a Sauvignon blanc

WHY?

All of the above suggestions match the gentle acidity and fruity notes in these cheeses
Sancerre is France’s Sauvignon Blanc and grows in the Loire valley.
The Loire Valley was originally the home of French Sparklings, until the Champagne region became the largest producer. Hence the name, Champagne now being well known as French Sparkling.
The dessert wine would give a lovely contrasting flavour to the goats cheese, much the same way as you’d drizzle some honey over Goats cheese.

goats

WASHED RIND GOATS CHEESE

Or strong soft goat’s cheeses, such as a Mothais sur feuille, which is matured in very high humidity and gives way to a softer, creamy fudgey interior. These cheeses when aged can have quite a punch to them, leaving the gentle acidity behind and bringing forth more of a zing on the palate.

WHAT?

WINE
A sweet dessert wine as you would with a fresh crisp goats cheese.
A robust red wine such as a Pinot Noir, but try to steer clear of anything with too much tannin such as a Cabernet.
FORTIFIED
A fortified such as an aged Port or a Spanish Sherry such as a Pedro Ximenez.
WHISKY
A whisky, such as a Japanese or Scottish Whisky variety. Possibly not an American Whisky as the smokiness can over power the cheese I find.
BEER
A classic Pale Ale, with a hoppy finish.
SAKE
Umeshu – A sweet dessert Sake, with a sweet yet slight sourness.

WHY?

With such a tang to these cheeses they behave similarly to a washed rind so you can pair them with something more robust to bring forth their subtleties.
The sweet wine and fortified will mellow the tang.
A whisky will bring forth the smokiness.
The red wine and Pale Ale will enhance the sweet leaving a creamy texture.

Be wary of red wine with non aged goats cheeses, the wines tannin and the cheeses acidity create a very unpleasant mouth feel. Be sure to taste your combination first before unleashing it on your guests!

Mothais sur feuille
Mothais sur feuille

WASHED RIND CHEESES

Generally your smellier cheeses, with a sticky rind due to the washing during its maturing period. These cheeses are best eaten and smelt little, they have an oozy texture that coats the palate. Created by the monks who used to eat these cheeses on their ‘fasting days’, which is why sometimes these cheeses are referred to as having a meaty texture!
Such things as Epoisse, Taleggio and Raclette are the most well known.

WHAT?

WINE
Washed rind cheeses are best with a dry fruity white wine such as a Gruner Vetliner with a savoury finish.
A sweet Sauternes lends well to these cheeses.
BEER
With these cheeses having such a strong taste, and softer washed rind a yeasty taste, they lend well to heavy Trappist beers such as Chimay or a light Stout (Porter).
CIDER
Depending on the strength of the cheese a Cider can be a pleasant pairing.

WHY?

Epoisse is washed in a pomace brandy, so best paired with the same. The ‘meaty’ texture lends well to such strong flavours. Also from Burgundy, so the old adage what grow together goes together. It brings forward the creamy texture.
Raclette being from more Alpine areas, the local wines tend to be more minerally which match the savoury character of the cheese.
A sweet wine would hide a little of the punch whilst still allowing the flavours to penetrate.
A savoury cider would allow for a little sweetness contrasting with the cheese whilst also allowing the full flavours to come though.
The monks were the ones to play with cheese and created their Trappist beers, both having yeasty notes, they really do marry well together.

http://www.european-food-journal.com/bieres_de_chimay_sa/portrait/
chimay and cheese

SEMI HARD GOAT’S CHEESES

Such as the Dutch Wyngaard Chevre, Midnight Moon or Queso de Cabra from Spain
These aged semi hard goats cheeses still have a little of the goats cheese acidity but also have a more mellow sweetness that comes through the cheese and a fudgey texture in the mouth

WHAT?

WINE
A dry fruity wine such as a Gewurztraminer, or similar sparkling wine.
Sweet dessert wine with Pineapple notes, or try a more gentle fruity Riesling or Chablis with a savoury finish.
BEER
A crisp Pilsner or Wheat beer.
SAKE
Umajun Junmai – a nutty savoriness and yet a gentle citrus note.

WHY?

A sparkling wine to bring forward the cheeses sweetness.
Dessert wine to match the sweetness with the acidity of the Goats cheese.
Beer to refresh the palate with crisp bubbles
Sake to provide lively vanilla notes and finish with a crisp citrus to contrast the sweetness.

Learn more about Sake pairing here . . .
http://ringofirefly.blogspot.com.au/2011/07/for-cheese-and-chilled-sakes-sake.html

sake

TRIPLE CREAM CHEESES

These cheeses are not for your faint hearted. Most definitely creamy and with minimum 70% fat content it’s not a cheese I recommend eating everyday. But, we have some wonderful suggestions on how to tone down that creamy mouth feel when you cant help but to over indulge!
So, whether you’re into your Brillat Savarin, Delice de Bourgogne or many of the other incarnations, this one is for you!

WHAT?

This type of cheese matches with so many things its hard to narrow down, but here are some of the ways I’ve enjoyed
it. . .

WINE
A dry classic French Champagne
A light fruity Rose, to bring forth memories of ‘strawberries & cream’
A sweet dessert wine such as a Vouvray
For something more heavy this cheese stands up to a full bodied Cabernet
BEER
A crisp refreshing Pilsner
A heavy Stout, try a Chocolate Stout ‘chocolate & cream’
CIDER
A full flavoured apple cider with gentle sweetness, I prefer the Sidra del Verano from Spain
FORTIFIED
With a Tawny Port or for a sweeter version try a Spainish Sherry, Pedro Ximenez
WHISKY
A blended malt whisky from Speyside in Scotland, called Monkey Shoulder
SAKE
Umeshu – A sweet dessert Sake, with a sweet yet slight sourness.

WHY?

A Sparkling with lots of bubbles helps to cut through the richness of the cheese
Whilst I’m not a huge fan of dark beers, this is like a chocolate and beer cream delight.
However the bubbles in a Pilsner lightens the cheese cutting through the richness.
The sweetness in the Port helps the cheese feel like a all in one dessert luxury
This particular Whisky has a lovely mellow sweetness that pairs so marvelously with this cheese.
A fruity Sake reminiscent of a dessert wine.

brillat savarin cheese

SEMI HARD CHEESES

So, now we’re talking of cheeses such as Ossau Iraty, Chebris & Alpine cheeses such as Uplands pleasant ridge from America, or France’s Comte & Beaufort . . . Manchego which we’ll come to later.
Some of these cheeses are made during certain times of the year but for arguments sake were going to put them into this category for now!

WHAT?

WINE
Classically a dry fruity white wine pairs best with Alpine cheeses such as a Vin Jaune
Fruity full bodied red wines have their place too
BEER
Belgium Pilsners, with a crisp finish or Pale Ale with more hoppy notes
FORTIFIED
Tawny Port or local Topaques
SAKE
Karakuchi – with a minerality and upfront fruity notes, perfect for complex cheese flavour profiles

WHY?

Vin Jaune made in the Comte region (what grows together, goes together)
Ossau Iraty used to have such a pungent aroma/taste that heavy red wines were used to mask the cheese. Thankfully this is no longer the case however the tradition still remains and with its fudgey texture pairs quite well with a fruity full bodied Pinot Noir.
Belgium beers are fruity enough whilst having enough savoury notes to match the complex cheeses
Ports with their sweetness bring out the more savoury notes of these cheeses
Karakuchi Sake, with its minerality makes it a perfect fit for savoury cheeses bring out out its subtle flavours

CLOTH AGED CHEDDAR

Talking of classic British cloth bound cheeses (although there are some great American ones too known as ‘bandaged wrapped’) such as Cabot. These are drier and crumblier than your supermarket versions with a tang that lingers on the palate due to the cheese being aged for 12 months or more

WHAT?

WINE
Depending on the strength of the cheese, a hearty red wine such as a Shiraz
A dry oak smoked chardonnay
BEER
A bold brown ale
FORTIFIED
A Tawny port
SAKE
Umeshu, a sweeter style fruity sake

WHY?

A hearty red wine can match the the strength of a sharp cheddar without becoming overpowering
The oaked Chardonnay will match the dryness of the cheese bringing out the grassy notes
Unless you have an Isle of Mull cheese which has strong whisky overtones so a whiskey would be best!
A full strength beer would match the cheddar without being too strong, what grows together goes together. British Cheddars are best with hearty British ales.
The sweetness of a fortified Port or Umeshu sake contrasts with the sharp cheddar bringing forth other subtle nutty flavours

BUTTERY SOFTER CHEDDARS

Gentle Cheddars such as Cantal, Barbers Cheddar or Double Gloucester which have a more buttery texture and softer notes.

WHAT?

WINE
A fresh fruity wine from the same region
BEER
A crisp pilsner style beer
CIDER
A crisp savoury cider, not too sweet
WHISKY
A blended malt whisky from Speyside in Scotland, called Monkey Shoulder

WHY?

The wine would contrast the butteriness of the cheese bringing other flavours through
A Pilsner style beer would cut through the buttery notes with its refreshing bubbles
A refreshing French style savoury cider to contrast the butter notes
This particular Whisky has a lovely mellow sweetness that pairs so marvelously with this cheese.

MANCHEGO

A sheeps milk cheese, these generally have a natural oiliness to them with hazelnut overtones

WHAT?

WINE
A big bold red wine with heavy tannins
Local Rioja wine
BEER
Spanish beer from the La Mancha region with malty notes
FORTIFIED
Spanish Sherry
White Spanish Port
CIDER
Sweeter Spanish cider like a Sidra del Verano

WHY?

Manchego is a cheese that pairs wonderfully with heavy tannin red wines and compliment each other
The malty notes of the beer pair beautifully with the nuttiness in the cheese
Spanish Sherry with its sweeter notes brings out the subtler cheese notes
A savoury Spanish white Port would match the savoury notes of the cheese allowing others to come to the fore
The sweeter Spanish cider contrasting the savoury notes of the cheese

AGED GOUDAS

Aged Goudas have been aged for 12 months or more and as they age the flavours intensify from a caramel sweetness to a grainy salty texture.

WHAT?

WINE
Riesling or something floral
Champagne or something bubbly
FORTIFIED
Sherry
SAKE
Karakuchi – with a minerality and upfront fruity notes

WHY?

The floral notes will mellow out the intense sweetness
The bubbles will have the same effect as above
Sherry will match the cheeses sweetness and contrast its saltiness
The Sake with its minerality will match perfectly for complex cheese flavour profiles

BLUE CHEESES

Blue cheeses tend to vary in strength but have a saltiness throughout the pate with a strong smell

WHAT?

WINE
A sweet dessert wine with fruity pineapple notes
A dessert wine, like a Late harvest Botrytis or similiar.
BEER
Full bodied Pale Ale
FORTIFIED
Port or Muscat
Spanish Sherry like a Pedro Ximenez
WHISKY
Glen Garioch

WHY?

The sweetness mellows the saltiness of the cheese
The beer will match the strength of the cheese allowing other notes to come to the fore
The sweetness of the fortifieds pair to bring forth the gentle blue cheese flavours
This whisky has lovely vanilla notes with a gentle smokiness that matches with the cheeses intensity

Be wary of red wine with some blue cheeses, the wines tannin and the cheeses react to create a very unpleasant mouth feel, Metallic almost. Be sure to taste your combination first before unleashing it on your guests!

FLAVOURED HARD CHEESES

Such things as a coffee rubbed rind Bella Vitano American cheese, spiced Cumin Gouda, Isle of Mull Cheddar

WHY?

These cheeses are interesting as they have so many options due to their flavourings

BELLA VITANO ESPRESSO (coffee rubbed)
Pair with either a coffee or caramel flavoured drink to match the cheese
or a crisp wine or beer to contrast

CUMIN GOUDA
Pair with either a spiced Rum or Whisky to match the cheese
or a sweeter fruity wine like a Riesling to contrast

ISLE OF MULL CHEDDAR
This cheese is made with the milk of cows which are fed some of the leftover draff from the local whisky distillery.
Pair with a local Whisky to match the cheese
or a crisp refreshing white wine like Sauvignon Blanc to contrast

Bella Vitano Espresso

No matter what you enjoy, there is no wrong or right answers. You’ll be amazed just how much the cheeses can change with what you pair with them.
Everybody has different tastebuds!
Enjoy

Nufenen

History of Nufenen

The official name is Nufener Bio Bergkäse ‘Wurzig’ which translates roughly to ‘Nufener Organic Mountain Cheese, Spicy’.
It is made by the dairy cooperative in eastern Switzerland, in the Graubünden canton, comprising of 22 dairy farmers from the surrounding area. Although the town has grown it has always been a tiny town with only 150 residents in 2000. Nufenen is a relatively young cheese, having only of been in production for some fifty years.

The picturesque town of Nufenen
The picturesque town of Nufenen

Maturing

The cheese ia a purely d’Alpage cheese, meaning it is only made during the spring/summer months when the cows are grazing over lush fresh grasses and flowers, giving over to a lovely floral cheese.
Nufenen is aged for 5-8 months before being exported.
The rind is washed regularly with a special brine blend and flipped on a regular basis whilst it develops the reddish brown, slightly sticky rind. Much in the same way as Appenzeller another well loved Swiss cheese.
Internally the pate is golden with a scattering of small round eyes, dense and creamy, with a sweet and yet savoury floral notes.

IMG_20160602_122835

Tasting notes

Its buttery flavour will delight the palate with its semi hard texture, with herbal minerality, nutty tones and yet a wonderful floralness coming through this cheese is definitely a cheese to enjoyed on those cold wintry nights

Jersey blue

History of Jersey Blue

Jersey Blue, a relatively new award-winning blue cheese from Willi Schmid in Leichensteig, Switzerland.
Purely named after the breed of cow whose milk is used for this cheese.

Selected by Rolf Beeler of Red Cow a man who is bringing forward amazing long forgotten and new Swiss cheeses to the rest of the world and Australia.
The Jersey Blue is Willi Schmid’s most decorated product, on two consecutive occasions, in 2010 and 2012, it won the ‘Best of Show’ at the ‘World’s Jersey Cheese Awards’
The Jersey Blue undoubtedly proves the immense talent of its creator. Willi uses two different Italian moulds. He doesn’t reveal which ones, we only know Gorgonzola mould is not part of it.
This is a beautiful blue with a buttery, fudgey pale yellow interior, woven through with dense marbling of blue mould.
jersey blue

Maturing & tasting notes

It is sweet, complex and fruity, with a fiery blue cheese bite. Switzerland is not often mentioned in the same breath as blue cheese, but Willi could well change that and we thank him for that!

It has an unbelievable long finish that lingers on your palate wanting more, this cheese can be enjoyed young or later with age to a drier interior and a stronger, sharper blue cheese tang.

Watch 3 mins with Willi and see how his passion for the animals creates this wonderful cheese . . .
http://www.theredcow.com.au/our-cheese/selection-rolf-beeler-jersey-blue/

Appenzeller

Pron. A-pen-zel-lah

A Swiss cheese, more of a cooking cheese than a table cheese. Suited perfectly for fondues due to its savoury nature.

appenzeller wedge

History of Appenzeller

Appenzeller cheese is a hard cow’s milk cheese produced in the Appenzell region, in the northeast of Switzerland.
In 1069 the Abbey of St. Gallen built a settlement called ‘Abbacella’ which is where the name “Appenzell” is from.

During Springtime Alpine herdsmen in national dress move their cattle to higher ground to take in the fresh grasses of the season, ensuring the milk is at its best. They have doing this for centuries, Appenzeller has a history that’s been documented as far back as 700 years.

appenzeller with holes

Maturing

Appenzeller is made at 50 dairy cooperatives, where the cheese is made up of skimmed and full fat raw milk where it is turned into wheels of cheese.
When the cheeses are formed into their familiar shapes they are given a certificate. This states the cheese dairy number, the guarantee of origin, the production date and a consecutive number. The cheese certificate is used as a seal of quality so that the origin of a cheese wheel can be checked at any time.
When the cheeses are one day old they are placed in a brine bath.
This brine solution varies to each producer yet it is a closely guarded secret and this is what gives this cheese its distinctive flavours.

The wheels are then left to mature in humid cheese cellars for months where they are turned and washed on a regular basis.

Tasting notes

This cheese has a light golden interior with tiny holes and a strong aroma.
The taste varies depending on the age of the cheese

* Classic – Aged for 3-4 months, silver wrapper
* Surchoix – Aged for 4-6 months, gold wrapper
* Extra – Aged 6 months or longer, black wrapper

Whichever one you choose the taste varies from nutty to fruity with an unmistakable tang.
Ideal for fondues as you need a strong flavour taste to tone down the sweetness of Comte/Gruyere or Emmental whichever recipe you choose.

http://www.appenzeller.ch/en/range/overview/

L’Etivaz

Pron. Et-e-vah

Swiss cheese from the town of Etivaz, with only 150 inhabitants.

History of L’Etivaz

L’Etivaz is an Alpine semi-hard Cow’s milk cheese.
But to say this is the same as saying Mars is a planet in the sky!

Made in the style of traditional artisan Gruyere, it is said that this is what Gruyere used to be over 100 years ago. L’Etivaz is protected by law under the AOC making this cheese protected under that umbrella, it must adhere to the strict regulations that we’ll discuss later.

In the 1930s a group of 76 families felt that the governments regulations were placing such a strain on the Gruyere cheese making industry that they were responsible for making the cheese become bland, so they pulled out of the governments program and went about creating their own cheese from their town, Etivaz.

The cheese is made from Spring/Summer unpasteurised milk from the cows that graze high in the Swiss Alps during these months (May – October only), grazing on seasonal flowers and native grasses.

AOC stipulates the cheese must –

* Be made from raw cows milk, from May – October only

* Made by hand in large copper cauldrons

* Made over open fires

* Each wheel must have the mark of batch, producer to ensure the traceability back to the source.

And many many more requirements for this amazing cheese.
etivaz

The process…in brief

The milk travels very little from the udder to the dairy as purists say the delicate proteins can be broken up during transportation, so the evening and morning milks are stored in churns until the morning milk is added and the cream skimmed off the top, it is then the milk is placed over an open fire in huge copper cauldrons.

After the curds and whey have been separated the curds are poured into huge muslins and pressed into their moulds and turned several times. The cheesemaker will then add the distinctive L’Etivaz branding as well as his initials, to make each round of cheese is traceable to its producer.

The following morning are rubbed with salt and kept in the chalet for 7 days where they were produced until being moved to the L’Etivaz cellars for further ripening. At this stage the cheeses can weigh upto 38kg.

Maturing

From here in the L’Etivaz cellars the cheese makers leave their wonderful cheeses in the capable hands of L’Etivaz Affineurs where the cheeses are soaked in a brine solutions of 22% for 24hrs to encourage the natural rind.

From here they go to the Cool brine cellar where they stay for a week and are rubbed with salt everyday to encourage the rind.

Then on to the Warm fermentation cellar where they are rubbed in a brine 3 times a fortnight, this encourages the micro-organisms to do their work and contribute to the final flavour of the cheese.

From here they move to the aging cellar where they could say for 12-36 months to develop into the L’Etivaz we know and love.

Each year a small percentage of cheeses are selected to be aged for a further period of time and mature into Rebibes. Where the cheese is shaved and enjoyed as the flavours are so much more intensified they can be enjoyed as part of a fruit/dessert.
etivaz curls

Tasting notes

Typical of many Swiss mountain cheeses it has a rich, nutty flavour with hints of dried fruit, grassy meadows and melted butter with a firm, smooth texture.
However no words could ever give this cheese credit, I implore you, find some, preferably not been strangled in plastic wrap and enjoy.

A wonderfully information packed website here all about this remarkable cheese and the passion shared and aired.
Please follow their link, for even more fascinating information on this cheese, I thank them…
http://www.etivaz-aoc.ch/en/

Berg Heublumen Kase

Pron. Berg Her-bloomin Casswiss flag

A Swiss cheese covered in grass

History of Berg Heublumen Kase

Switzerland has long given us top quality cheeses thanks to the clear mountainous air and the high altitudes where the cows graze on lush grasses, this however was not always the case.
The cheese industry nearly died out after WW1 due to the Swiss cheeses union discouraging the production of non traditional cheeses and unfortunately even to this day some small scale artisanal cheeses have been lost.

With the opening of the market across Europe and the closure of the cheese union in the 1990s it created a freeing of farmers allowing to send their milk to whoever they wished and as a result small dairy farmers are starting to bring back small artisanal cheeses such as Herblumen kase.
berg heublumen kase

Maturing

Produced by the Stadelmann family from the North East Switzerland, made from organic raw milk, it is sold relatively young at 4-6 months and covered with covered with the trimmings from the first cut of Alpine grasses whilst it matures.
At 7 kgs this cheese resembles another well known Swiss cheese, Appenzeller with its disc like shape.

Heublumen translates as ‘hay flower’

Much the same as an Italian version Vento d’estate

Tasting notes

The rind creates distinctive gentle herbaceous notes on the palate and the pate is semi hard with increasing caramel notes as it ages. With nutty and buttery notes on the tongue.

Look for an equally fruity white wine such as an Austrian Gruner Vetliner or Pinot Gris.

Unfortunately due to Australia’s strict regulations it has become harder and harder to get this cheese through customs due to the grass on the outside. The non grass version is available and whilst still tasty it lacks the grassy exterior which does a lot to translate the flavours of the terroir through the cheese!

Via Mala

A Swiss alpine cheese produced under strict guidelines from the milk production to the cheese making.
Named after a hazardous gorge between two mountain ranges from the Bundner region, the home of Heidi – the world-famous children’s book character.

History of Via Mala

This semi hard cows milk alpine cheese is produced at 1600 mtrs above sea level with organic milk and the cows graze on fresh green grass, never silage.
The cheese is matured for up to 12 months ensuring the beautiful sweetness comes through to the cheese with small holes within the pate.

Via mala

Tasting notes

This wheel of cheese has a mottled rind that hides a fudgey semi hard cheese with a daffodil yellow glow with a sweet, fruity, and slight lactic finish.
A classic alpine cheese suited to be used as a table cheese and to add a little sweetness to a fondue.

Emmental

Emmental, also known as Emmenthal or Emmentaler is made from pasturised milk, Emmental grand cru is made from raw milk cheese.

History of Emmental

Dating back to the 12th Century this cheese is a Swiss cheese but many countries produce this, its most recognisable feature is the holes within the cheese.
The cheese gets its name from the region in which it is produced within the valley of Emme high up in the Bern region.
Although made by more modern methods the cheese is still made in huge copper vats, less so over an open fire these days though.

The cheese making is passed down through the family to the youngest son who is to carry on the family tradition whilst the older sons receive cash only!

Maturing

The cows graze on grass and hay only maximising the flavours within the cheese, the cheese is placed under extreme pressure during the aging process for 20 hours and then soaked in a brine bath for several days before being moved to the maturation room where they mature for 6 – 8 weeks this is when the holes occur by propionic bacteria releasing gas within the cheese and making it ‘rise’ and have these walnut sized holes within the cheese.

Weighing in at a whopping 80-100kg these cheeses are some the largest cheeses in the world, making Parmesan wheels look like miniatures.

Tasting notes

Aged cheeses ripen up to 12 months and the spiciness of the cheese comes through, but mostly the cheese is eaten after 8 weeks of age. This is when the cheese has a slight nuttiness, with grassy notes and that characteristic swiss cheese texture which is slightly supple on the palate.

Check out this clip of the production of Emmental…

http://www.bern.com/en/region/emmental/highlights-emmental/emmental-show-dairy

Tete de Moine

Bellelay cheese

Pron. Tet de mwa-on

History of Tete de Moine

IMG_20160902_171043
The monastery of Bellelay where this cheese originates was established in 1136.
The cheese was used to pay the landowners and documents from the time mention the use of the valuable cheese as a means of payment.

Tete de Moine is a cheese produced in the restricted areas of the mountain districts of Franches Montagnes, Moutier, Porrentruy and Courtelary in the Swiss Alps.
Made using natural, untreated mountain milk free from additives.
Tete de Moine is not designed to be eaten in big chunks. Traditionally, the top rind is cut off of the cylindrical cheese and a tool called a Girolle is inserted through the middle of the cheese and the Girolle is spun around, shaving off thin layers of the cheese to create rosettes.

girolle

Girolle® :
Nicolas Crevoisier the inventer of the Girolle was an engineer from the Canton of Jura. He like his family before him used to pare Tête de Moine with a knife. Determined to find a more efficient way to enjoy this cheese after several attempts he finally came up with the Girolle®. Running a spike through the cheese did the trick and makes paring perfect rosettes as easy as anything.

In 1981 the Girolle® was patented. Production began in the year after and Mr Crevoisier’s company, Metafil AG, was able to get through the economic crises of those years without having to dismiss any of his employees. In 1986 he even received the innovation prize of the region. Since the Girolle® was first launched 2.5 million items have been sold.

Naming of this cheese

There are several versions on how this cheese came to be known as Tete de Moine (Monk’s head)
One such version is more of an insult, it came from the revolutionary period when it was said that the shaving of the cheese was like shaving the tonsure on the monks head.
It is also said that in the Jura tradition the cheeses in store was counted as per monks head.

Maturing

It takes 10 litres of high quality milk to produce 1 kg of Tête de Moine AOP, Bellelay cheese.
The cheese then matures in the humid cheese cellar at about 90% humidity, at 13-14°C on pine boards for 3 months minimum and is turned on a regular basis.

Preparing to go into the brine bath
Preparing to go into the brine bath

In order to receive its AOP grading it must pass stringent quality testing before it is bestowed with the designation Tete de Moine AOP in which it must receive minimum 18 out of 20 in the categories of appearance, holes, body, aroma and taste.

The lots with fewer than 18 points cannot be classified as Tête de Moine AOP. This quality control system makes sure that only impeccable cheese wheels are put onto the market.

Tasting Notes

This cheese like many Alpine cheeses have a complex flavour profile, with notes such as nuttiness, fruity, yet a strong sweet onion taste.
The Girolle only helps to bring these flavours to the fore as the air that circulates the cheese when you eat it brings forward a lovely delicate floral grassiness.
If you cannot get your hands on a girolle, use a knife or a cheese plane to shave off thin ribbons of Tete de Moine. The hard work will truly be worth it.
Match with a crisp fruity wine such as a Riesling and you’ll feel like yodelling in no time!

Special thanks…

http://www.tetedemoine.ch/en/history/historical-notes

for additional historical information

Napf Bergkase

History of Napf Bergkase

Napfkase is made from the summertime cows milk, from Lucern in Switzerland.

Napf is a collaboration between master affineur Rolf Beeler and a respected cheese maker of the region. Their vision was to create a true farmhouse cheese to the original taste and smell of Swiss mountain cheese, robust and rustic with small holes, a firm bite and a long flavour with hints of herbs, flowers and grasses.

napf

But be warned, if buying a big wedge the rind is stinky when fresh!

We had it at one place I worked and the floor staff were convinced there was something dying in the cheese ripening room. But after a few days the smell dissipated and they all loved it, was hard to convince them that was the stinky one they were smelling a few days earlier!

Tasting notes

Napf brings a slight sweetness with an apple juice aftertaste.
This cheese balances all of the great Swiss cheeses with the nuttiness of Gruyere, creaminess of Emmental and the bite from Appenzeller.

This one will hold up to a stronger white wine, with plenty of mineral notes and fruitiness. A Gruner Vetliner would be a perfect accompaniment.