The art of making cheese is as varied as the geographical regions where it can be found. Each village, dairy and even families traditionally have put their own flare and touches on the cheese they make. Typically using local ingredients to aid the aging process and flavor. This month The Truffle Cheese Shop will introduce you to three amazing cheeses that are covered with flowers!
The tradition of pressing, rubbing or covering wheels of cheese with local flora is almost as old as cheese making itself. Since cheese has been produced, long (many thousands of years) before refrigeration, people were always hunting for ways to preserve the summer bounty of milk to last into the winter months. By wrapping or covering wheels of cheese in everything from fabric, spices, hay, grass or olive leaves and branches. Usually things that were readily abundant. Often aging the covered wheels in caves, large crocks in pantries, even by burying them in the ground. The cheese was able to keep at a more stable temperature and humidity level. That environmental consistency helped to successfully age the cheese, sometimes several days, months or even years longer. To their delight it imparted unique flavors and complexities to the flavor of the cheese. By using local flora, it also gave the cheese a special Terroir unique to the geographical area. Generations of cheesemakers continued the practice, sometimes improvising along the way. This wonderful tradition was extended to the young fresh cheeses as well. Besides being beautiful, it increased the life of the cheese by days to several weeks.
Thickly coated in dried mountain herbs and flowers makes this alpine cheese very special. The nine-pound wheel is produced at a cooperative creamery in Austria from pasteurized cow’s milk. It is aged for about six months before being shipped across the boarder to Germany where the floral coating is applied by hand to each wheel. The dried alpine flowers and herbs are brightly colored and include cornflower, lavender, marjoram, lovage and chervil. All of this gives the cheese a unique herbaceous aroma and pastoral sweetness. The milk from Brown Swiss cows is known for its high butter fat and is reflected in the rich flavor and dense creamy finish. It has a nice savory paste that is perfect with the florals. Its texture is also dense and silky with a golden tone from the quality milk. It is wonderful paired with a glass of Bavarian beer or a dry Riesling
We thought flower covered cheese is the perfect way to usher in spring! Enjoy!