If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time you may have noticed that I sometimes struggle with an existential cheese angst. It’s true, there are almost infinite varieties of cheese to write about, but to what end? Now that I can confidently wander through any cheese counter in any country perhaps that’s enough. But perhaps not. You see, maybe there’s “that cheese”out there still waiting for me, that mythic, amazing cheese that will transport me to another world. Thus, I continue to look and snack. My teenaged French exchange student is bemused by my obsession with cheese. It seems as though I live in the wrong country. She can’t believe that I do not have a dedicated cheese fridge, similar to a beer fridge. Apparently this is how it is done in France. Maybe this is proof that I still have more to learn.
At this point, I am waiting for cheese to speak too me, and this one-Rathtrevor- has been calling my name for a while. I previously reviewed this company, Little Qualicum Cheeseworks from Vancouver Island, and discussed their charming farm-Morningstar at https://myblogofcheese.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/day-99-island-brie/ as well as their Brie cheese, but Rathtrevor, keeps trying to get my attention. A friend of mine questioned my choice of Island Brie to review, which was just another brie to her, whereas their Rathrevor: “freaking heaven.” Then last week, I was at the Winter Farmer’s Market at Nat Bailey stadium in Vancouver with my French student and daughter-when a lovely man stopped the three of us and took a photo of us with his iPad. When I looked down from smiling I saw a stack of cheese…Little Qualicum cheese…Rathtrevor cheese. If this wasn’t a sign that this was meant to be, I don’t know what is, so cheese Gods, I am listening.
I shan’t reiterate my review of their farm and fromagerie, follow the link above if you want to know more, but in a nutshell… this is a groovy family who lived in Switzerland, learned how to make cheese, moved to Vancouver Island and made awesome cheese there which is certified by the SPCA. This means it has good cheese Karma on top of everything else. Unlike their Island Brie, Rathrevor is made from raw milk, which I do appreciate, being a raw milk girl. It’s named after a local beach in Parksville, Rathtrevor, where I have frolicked with my children-so just more proof this cheese needed me to eat it.
Rathtrevor is a Gruyere-type cheese, I appreciate that they don’t call it Gruyère, but instead give it their own local name and twist which is, I feel a respectful homage to a great cheese. Rathtrevor is aged for about a year and is made using milk from their own herd of Holstein, Ayrshire, Brown Swiss and Canadienne dairy cows. Rathtrevor is a raw milk firm, aged, washed-rind cheese. I really do love me some Gruyère, months ago a cave aged Gruyère nearly sent me over the edge of cheese joy, so Rathtrevor has some big cheese shoes to fill!
My block of Rathrevor, which is also available in many stores, but much more fun to purchase from the family-is a firm, buttery looking cheese. Although it claims to be “washed rind” I see no evidence of rind, washed or otherwise, and this saddens me a little. I understand that we are not accustomed to rind here in Canada-land, but that’s only because people keep treating us like babies. It’s like cutting crust off toast, don’t do it! That’s the yummy part, sigh. I digress. It’s a handsome Mountain cheese with the tiniest little eyes running through the interior in spots. Although it’s an aged Gruyere-type cheese I do not see evidence of tyrosine crystals which often look like little white dots in the cheese, alas. This cheese smells very mild and nutty, quite safe-a cheese wimp would not be frightened of by this benign looking and smelling cheese in the least, I might even be able to give it to a child!
Much less benign tasting! Mmmm, I actually really dig this cheese! It’s quite an intense mushroomy, nutty cheese. Yes, it’s similar to Gruyère,, but this
isn’t Gruyere, it’s much softer with a more tensile chew to it, not crumbly at all. It’s just mmmm, I don’t really know what it is, but I seriously dig this cheese, it has that balance that I always look for but I rarely find: sweet, salt and underarm. There’s also that unmistakable Mountain cheese faint alcohol note in this cheese, but I don’t mind it here, no not at all. You could use this cheese in just about anything, but as for me, it’s going into my personal snacking stash…you know why? It’s because Rathtrevor is definitely my slice of cheese.