Vacherin What's the perfect holiday cheese? Well IMHO, it's Vacherin Mont d'Or, an oozy, creamy, complex and stinky cheese from the French or Swiss Alps. Served at room temperature or warmed up in a slow oven, Vacherin is a great party cheese, and goes well with crisp white, light red and sparkling wines.
Vacherin Mont d'Or is a seasonal cheese, only available in the winter months, made from the milk of mountain cows who have been brought down from their pastures for the season . It's related to other mountain cheeses such as Emmentaler and Gruyère, but made in much smaller rounds and also treated differently, so that the cheese is almost liquid when fully ripe.
Vacherin Mont d'Or comes in a round pine box, with the cheese enclosed by a birch strip called a sangle, and a velvety reddish/brownish rind. To eat the cheese, allow it to breathe at room temperature for several hours before carving off the rind and scooping out the soft cheese inside.
Washed Rind Cheeses - When the weather gets cooler, I turn to washed rind cheeses. Their supple, sometimes oozy and flavorful paste, accompanied by a distinctive stink seems appropriate when there is a chill in the air. Washed rind? They're the stinkiest of any cheese you'll find in the shops; they're the ones that make you search your refrigerator for something that's gone bad.
Washed rind cheeses are bathed in a liquid solution-- normally a saltwater brine-- during their aging process (hence the term washed). The practice originated in monastic Medieval times, where there was plenty of wine, beer, and spirits available to those monks who busied themselves with, among other things, cheesemaking. Washing the outside of a cheese not only protected the interior paste by preventing the rind from cracking, but it also produced, they found, cheese with a meaty, more pungent flavor that was a surprisingly welcome replacement for meat during periods of religious fasting.
Washing in a brine or booze solution cultivates the growth of brevibacterium linens (or b. linens), a bacteria unique to washed rinds, that softens the acidity while producing a reddish/orange mold and a distinctive stink. The bacteria itself is smelly, which explains, in short, why the cheese becomes so, as well.
Washed rind cheeses should look moist, and there should be a slightly tacky texture to the rind. Cracking of the rind is probably an indication of a ripe cheese if the interior is oozing from the cracks, in which case it may be perfectly fine (but should be eaten quickly). Depending on the age of the cheese, the interior should go from semi-soft to soft and supple, or with some varieties, oozing and unctuous.
Featured Cheese - Brescianella
Aged Brescianella has got to be one of my favorite cheeses! In fact, it was one of the first cheeses that we chose for the store's short list of cheeses.
Featured Cheese - Bravo Silver Mountain
We've unleashed another passel of $99 Six Packs - Six Bottles of pre-selected wines all dolled up in a nifty recycled and reusable wine tote; this is the best deal in the shop (even better than Wine Club discount)!!
Here's what's in this month's offering! (Selection changes every month, so check with the shop for the current offering!
$99 White Six Pack($111 Value - 10.8% discount)
Mas Igneus Blanc- Grenache Blanc
Mullineux White- South African Chenin
Vinha Real Vinho Verde- refreshing!
Esterlina Off Dry Riesling- Anderson Valley
Cantrie Muscadet- crisp and dry
Colombo Rosé- bright, easy drinking!