Its springtime at Great Ciao, and we’re psyched about our tasty Swiss cheeses from Maître Fromager Rolf Beeler. The gentle spring breeze makes us think about all those happy alpine cows, who are munching on sweet mountain grass for the first time since they got shut in for the winter. I imagine the Von Trapp family would be perfectly at home in this beautiful pastoral setting. Okay, so perhaps the Sound of Music reference is a bit of a stretch, especially since they didn’t escape to Switzerland until the end of the musical…
Here are a few Swiss Cheeses we have been loving at the Great Ciao World Headquarters:
Oh, Challerhocker… I can’t say the cheese’s name without breaking into my best Swiss dairy-maid impression (think Heidi of the Alps meets Inga from Young Frankenstein) “Vould you like to try my Challerhocker?!” So I guess it’s nice to know that they aren’t taking themselves too seriously either. I mean, just look at that label!
Aesthetics aside, Challerhocker is a seriously cool cheese that’s relatively new to the Swiss cheese scene. A wheel is roughly twenty pounds, made with cow’s milk, and has a firm “fudgey” texture. It has the sweet funkiness of a good gruyere, with those nice little tyrosine crystals to kick up the flavor and texture. We think it tastes like Peanut Butter and asparagus; which also happens to be our favorite flavor combination at Great Ciao. Challerhocker would pair well with Trockenbeerenauslese. If only to give your patrons a mouthful that is as delicious as it is unpronounceable.
Rolf Beeler Selection Jersey Blue
Just look at the butter yellow paste of that cheese! Weighing in at 5lbs. per wheel, Jersey blue is a wonderful addition to the relatively sparse offerings of the Swiss when it comes to blue cheeses. Award winning cheesemaker Willi Schmid grew up with milk in his blood – his family has owned a dairy farm for generations. Jersey blue is made with raw milk from Jersey cows and aged just long enough for the FDA to allow us to bring it into the U.S.
The rind is a combination of Geotrichum (the yellow brainey looking mold), Penicillium candidum (fuzzy mold), and Penicillium Roqueforti (blue mold), most blue cheese rinds aren’t all that pleasant to taste, but the rind on this one is downright enjoyable. With deep veining that permeates the cheese, Jersey Blue has a bold cave-y blue flavor, with a rich buttery texture that’s cut with a fruity winey acidity, and enough salt to bring it all together.
Kuntener and Stanser Rotelli Roblochon
The name “Roblochon” comes from the French verb “roblocher”, which we have no English equivalent for, but roughly translates to: “The act of pinching a cow’s udders.”
The creation myth of Reblochon is that in the Middle-Ages, farmers in the mountains of Haute Savoie used to pay their taxes with part of their milk production. In order to bring their production levels down, the farmers wouldn’t fully milk their cows. Once the tax officers came to measure the milk produced and left, the farmers went back to milk the cows again. The milk they got was much richer and was used to make the much beloved cheese we now call Roblochon.
Sadly, French Roblochon has been banned from importation from theU.S.for quite some time, because the AOC stipulates that the cheese be made with raw milk, and aged less than sixty days. But necessity is the mother of all invention, and we get two fabulous Swiss Roblochons from Rolf Beeler. The Kuntener Roblochon has a pleasant broccoli flavor, and a little whiff of the stinkiness that you expect with a great washed rind cheese. Stanser Rotelli Roblochon has a delicious sweet milky – almost grassy – flavor that’s not overwhelmed by the washed-rind aroma. Both are made with raw cow’s milk, and both weigh approximately 1.5 lbs.