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.
The milk is curdled by introducing rennet and heating the mixture, and the curds are packed into tall cylindrical molds, with holes in them so that the whey can drain out. After the cheese has firmed slightly, it is cut into rounds which are encircled with the traditional sangles and moved into a cheese cave to ripen. During the ripening phases, the Vacherin Mont d'Or is turned daily, and brushed with a brine solution. After one month, the cheese is ready for sale, and is boxed.
Vacherin is a unique cheese with a rich, creamy flavor. The sangle and subsequent pine box lend Vacherin Mont d'Or a slightly astringent, distinctive forest-like flavor. $30 each