Alpine Cheeses

One of the more distinctive features of alpine cheeses is the size of the wheels. Not all of them, but many, are exceedingly large. Due to the size of the wheels they are able to do something called corrections. Sometimes when the cheese is aging it will form cracks and you can detect these cracks by banging on the wheel and listening. The sound of the banging will change when there is a crack present. If there are cracks near the edge of the wheel they can carve into it and scoop out the cracked area, thereby correcting it and salvaging the rest of the wheel.

Alpine cheeses are also often made with cooked curds. The cooking takes place at a rather low temperature that is not high enough to pasteurize raw milk, or even to thermize it, which is essentially a lower heat half-pasteurization, if you will. What cooking the curds does is release even more of the moisture than what would be released if you put uncooked curds into the molds and pressed. Cooking them allows more whey to be released which changes the elasticity of the curds.

Due to transhumanza, the moving of herds up and down the slopes allowing them to graze from a variety of pastures, alpine cheeses tend to be pricier. The milk yield from these animals tends to be less and more energy is spent producing this type of cheese, which is reflected in the cost.

Condiments:

  • Arraya Fruit Rouges- red fruits of the forest
  • Ascheri Conga- moustarda
  • Guinettes en Liquor- marinated cherries
  • Strega Fragoline- wild strawberry

Wine:

  • Ardoisiers Srgile 2014
  • Castaldi Bigin Nebbiola 2011
  1. Croste di Pane di Capra, goat’s milk, Piedmont- This cheese was made from uncooked curds, the texture is soft and melty, and the rind has a bit of yellowing just inside which is typical of  northern Italian mountain cheeses. It has a creamy and milky flavor with an acidic, tang
    1. Condiments- The mostarda is really good, the red fruits are least favorite
    2. Wine- The Nebbiolo is good, the tannins cut the creaminess of the cheese, the white is a bit too light for the cheese, but the acidity matches well.IMG_9825
  2. Sola Tre latte Goat, Sheep, Cow’s milk, Piedmont- This cheese is made from a mix of all three milks. It is popular in Piedmont and is a bit bitter, has that drying sensation a tiny bit in the mouth. The texture is similar to a cheddar, but a bit softer.
    1. Condiments- The strawberries are weird, the mostarda is really good, the cherries are very alcholy that overpowers the cheese a bit. I do like the red berries quite a bit with this cheese.
    2. Wine- The white wine is good with it, and the Nebbiolo is a bit too tannic.   IMG_9826
  3. Tomme do Eavoie Fermier, Cow’s milk, Haute Savoie, France- This cheese has a weirdly creamy but firm texture. It has a mild taste but there is a smell in the mouth of amonia that reminds me of cat litter (a bit), with a kind of bitter aftertaste.
    1. Condiments- The strawberries get kind of lost, the mostarda is good, the berries are too fruity, but cherries are actually quite good with it.
    2. Wine- The Nebbiolo is good, the tannins are a bit overpowering for the cheese though, the white is a good match, its citrus flavors go well with the cheese.IMG_9827
  4. Abondance Fermier, Cow’s milk, Savoie- There is kind of a swiss cheese texture with a more fatty flavor. It has a bit of a bite that reminds me a bit of a soft parmesan.
    1. Condiments- The strawberries are good but sweet, the mostard is delicious, the berries are good but sweet, the cherries are a bit too alcoholic, but this cheese is my favorite with the cherries thus far.
    2. Wine- Nebbiolo is quite good! White is good, although I like the red better.IMG_9828
  5. Comte Reserve das Granges, Cow’s milk, Jura France- This cheese is only made from one type of cow that has an hectare and a half grazing per day by law, so it eats a lot of wild flowers in pasture. The cheese has a floral taste and smell in mouth, a drier texture than the others, with a little crunch.
    1. Condiments- The strawberries are good, the mostard is so good (I just really like it in general), the wild berries are a bit too sweet, and the cherries are alright.
    2. Wine- The white wine is really good, acidity cuts the fat, the Nebbiolo is also really good, tannins compliment the drier texture and the fat.IMG_9829
  6. Comte FSA, Cow’s milk, Jura- There is a similar crunch yet has a slightly softer texture than the last one. Kind of drying with hints of milkiness. The flavor lingers more and has variation,
    1. Condiments- The strawberries are really good (I like the sweetness here), I love the mostard, the berries are nice like the strawberries, and the cherries are good. This cheese is really good.
    2. Wine- The white is ok, the acidity doesn’t work as well, the Nebbiolo is nice, the tannins work well with the drying-ness of the cheese. IMG_9830
  7. Comte Le Fort, Cow’s milk, Jura- This cheese just keeps going and going and going… it has more of a crunch like cheese 5, but softer like 6. There is a slight drying of the mouth and fattiness that kind of explodes in your mouth after a few seconds.
    1. Condiments- The strawberries are good, the mostard is better, the berries are good, and the cherries are too much. Personally, I just like the cheese all alone.
    2. Wine- The white has good acidity that cuts the fat, the Nebbiolo tannins work well but are a bit overpowering. IMG_9831
  8. Marechel, Cow’s milk, Vaud, Switzerland- This one is way different, there is a hint of citrus. There is not any crunch but similar fattiness in the mouth. It goes through the palate, then in the nose at the end, and the texture is more flakey than a normal swiss that you might think of.
    1. Condiments- The strawberries are good, the mostard is great, and I really like the berries.
    2. Wine- I like the white, but the Nebbiolo is better. IMG_9832
  9. Sternberger, Cow’s milk, Zurich Switzerland- This one is much like the last one but with a longer finish. It has a smooth texture, but is still a bit drying, gets significantly more animaly towards the rind, and has a very long lingering taste. It is kind of chewy in the same way peanut butter is.
    1. Condiments- I actually love the strawberries with this cheese, the mostard is quite good, and the berries are really delicious.
    2. Wine- The white wine is ok, but the Nebbiolo is great, the tannins go well with the drying nature of the cheese. IMG_9833
  10. Beaufort D’Alpage, Cow’s milk, Haute Savoie- Produced in the alps and the age is perfect after 1 year. This cheese is much creamier, coats the inside of the mouth and the flavor is complex and long lasting. It sticks more and has a gummier “inside-of-the-bread-texture”.
    1. Condiments- The strawberries are good but sweet, the mostard is delicious, I like the berries better than the strawberries, and the cherries are actually really nice, the alcohol prevents it from coating the mouth too much.
    2. Wine- The white is good with the acid, the Nebbiolo is good because of the tannins. IMG_9834
  11. Gruyer D’Alpage, Cow’s milk, Gruyere, Switzerland- d’alpage means it must be transhumanza of a certain altitude, must be done with wood fire inside with little ventilation. This cheese deffinetly has a smokey flavor to it. Harder than the last, and less gummy, it has a slight crunch. By law it must be aged a year.
    1. Condiments- The strawberries are good, the mostard is really good, the berries are better than strawberries, I actually really like the strawberries here.
    2. Wine- The white is good, and the Nebbiolo is also good, the white might win out on this one, however. IMG_9835
  12. Gruyere Reserve, Cow’s milk, Gruyere Switzerland- This cheese is heavily controlled. It has a chewy texture again, but a lingering flavor with a mouth coating sensation. It is a bit bitter, with a few little crunches.
    1. Condiments- I really like the strawberries, the mostard is quite good as well, berries are really good, and the cherries are alright.
    2. Wine- The white is alright but has a kind of weird aftertaste, Nebbiolo is good, better than white. IMG_9836
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