A photo submission from our friend Carmine at Vincenzo’s in Waterloo, during a recent trip to Switzerland to see the Gruyere production.
A few hundred wheels of AOC Gruyere… almost ready!
Gruyere 1655 AOC
Gruyere 1655 AOC is produced using a traditional recipe from its town of origin: Gruyere, Switzerland. The cheese was originally produced by two brothers and officially took on its name in 1655, when a nobleman discovered their cheese and began having them produce it exclusively for his family. To this day, the traditions that began with the Rime Brothers in 1655 are followed as closely as possible. The alpine pastures of the Swiss canton of Fribourg are rich and green, and are particularly nourishing for the grazing cows. The 1655 AOC is made only by unparalleled master cheesemakers who follow precise rules for its production, resulting in awards of distinction for the consistently superior quality of their cheese. The cheese is aged in the Gruyere Cellars for an undisclosed number of months (likely between 6 and 12 months), a secret held only by the master cheesemakers.
Gruyere 1655 is a warm, toasty treat for all of the senses. First examine the mottled golden-brown colour of the rind; each wheel of the 1655 grows a tacky outer layer that ensures a healthy cheese & a full, rich flavour can be found within. The paste is smooth, clean and cream-coloured; studded with crunchy specks of grana. Aromas from the Gruyere are soft and inviting, with notes of freshly toasted bread and dried fruit. The texture is creamy smooth and melts quickly over the tongue. Gruyere 1655’s flavour will flow over your entire palate, exciting you with complex flavours of nuts, toast and cream.
To appreciate the Gruyere 1655 to its fullest, savour it alone, or with thin slices of charcuterie and pickles as part of a larger informal meal. Gruyere 1655 pairs well with many wine varieties, including dry white wines with delicate, fruity aromas, mineral notes and a touch of acidity; sparkling apple or pear ciders, or a dark bock beer also work very well with Gruyere.
Vacherin Mont D’Or is a famous seasonal cheese, produced in small quantities between August 15th & March 15th only. It is traditionally eaten during the winter months in the Jura region of France & Switzerland. The various Vacherin cheeses are distinguished based upon the specific origin of the milk used in production. The Vacherin Mont D’Or is crafted carefully, hand ladled then drained through canvas. Once the small round has drained and salted, it is encircled by a strip of spruce bark which helps the cheese to keep its shape during its 2-week maturation period as well as impart a wide range of tastes and aromas found in very few other cheeses.
The Vacherin Mont D’Or is a rich & creamy, soft & decadent cheese. The grayish-cream-coloured rind is marked by the indents of its mould and thinly protects the prized cheese, don’t worry if the rind has cracked; that just means it is very ripe and ready to enjoy! Aromas from the Vacherin Mont D’Or are primal; very much of mushrooms and freshly turned earth. The ring of spruce bark which surrounds the cheese also adds incredible aromas of a dense, alpine forest. The paste is cream-coloured and looks like shiny, melting butter and oozes at prime ripeness, to the point that is can be eaten using a spoon!
Try Vacherin Mont D’or accompanied by potatoes and most certainly with bacon! You can also use a spoon to ladle the room temperature cheese into a heel of bread. It is ideal to pair Vacherin with a crisp, dry white wine from Savoie, such as a Chignin-Bergeron.
Petit Pavé de Poitou
Origin: Poitou, France
Milk Type: Raw
Petit Pavé de Poitou is a great example of a classic Loire valley goat cheese in all the best ways. The raw milk cheese is produced on the same property as the goats are milked, therefore making it a farmhouse cheese. Crafted by a single maker, this cheese is made in very low volume compared to other Loire goat cheeses, making it a rare treat to have it reach our shores.
Weighing only 100 grams, this tiny cheese is thankfully large on flavour. In a traditional ‘pave’ (paving stone) rectangle, the Petit Pavé is a golden cream colour with a slightly wrinkled rind. The high lactic notes of goat milk are blended with an aroma not unlike bundled hay, drying in a field. Once open, the luxurious and cheerfully salted paste of Pavé has difficulty staying inside it`s rind. It is best eaten all at once!
Like it`s cousins from all over the Loire, Petit Pavé de Poitou is remarkably well suited to sweet accompaniments, such as clover honey, or fig jam… Just don`t forget the tiny fouée, a traditional snacking bread from Touraine. To drink, at least keep the idea of it`s origin in mind… A sauvignon blanc will work wonders with it, Ontario, New Zealand, or French.
Cheesemaker: Walter Rass, Käserei Tufertschwil
Origin: Saint-Gallen, Switzerland
Milk Type: Raw
Up close & personal.
As its name implies, Challerhocker (‘Sitting in the Cellar’) is a firm cellar aged cheese that, despite it’s somewhat creepy label, is a stunningly good cheese. After a full day worth of pressing, the cheese is moved to wooden shelves for ten months, and carefully washed with wine, herbs and spices. It is noteworthy that this cheese is not produced by co-ops, or different farms… this is one cheese made by one man; a true artisanal effort.
The somewhat terrifying Challerhocker labelling. We’re not sure exactly what they were attempting with this one.
Any fan of alpine cheeses will find a new friend in Challerhocker. The rind is a khaki coloured brown, slightly pungent and yeasty with a noticeable stickiness; given to it’s aging in a cellar and wine-based wash. Once inside, the paste is incredibly smooth, broken only by the odd eye created by gases released during the aging process. Challerhocker is both nutty and sweet; not unlike a carefully crafted praline or a not-too-sweet pecan pie. Combined with the savory zip of it’s washed rind, this cheese shines in every category.
Stand in front of a mirror at midnight and say “Challerhocker” three times…
Challerhocker can (and should!) be enjoyed any time of day; equally suited at breakfast through to a late night snack. You can certainly pair this cheese with classic Swiss accompaniments; smoked cured meats, chornichons & other pickles & crusty peasant bread. However, don’t let that stop you from eating it on it’s own, you will be glad you did, just don’t forget the Reisling!
In a pinch, Challerhocker can be used as a replacement Jenga set. Fun AND delicious!