Cheese 124 Tilsit-by Golden Ears Cheeseworks

Did you miss me?

Did you miss the cheese?

Thank you, loyal readers-for staying with me over the past several months whilst I investigated other foods. True, other food is fabulous, but really-this blog is about cheese, and I have re-committed myself to investigating and reporting on new cheeses, whenever and wherever I shall find them.

Yesterday I was driving home from Mission to Vancouver, BC, when it suddenly occured to me that I should attempt to visit Golden Ears Cheesecrafters, located in Maple Ridge. I have noticed their cheeses popping up across stores in the lower mainland over the last year, but had not actually tasted their cheeses myself-such an oversight.

The storefront itself is handsome and inviting-a farmhouse stand with a small restaurant and many locally sourced foods for sale. It had that unmistakable “cows are doing their cow-work smell” welcoming me as I parked, and I just love that in a weird way.
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But more importantly, inside, the cheese…There were about 10 of their hand-made cheeses for sale at the store. Many of them seemed to be variations of flavoured gouda though, and I do try to stay away from flavoured cheese. So I took a pass on those. I chatted briefly with owner, Kerry Davison who told me about the company, and also the cheese making-done on site by her daughter, Jenna, who is relatively new to the world of cheese making, but clearly passionate and talented.
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All of the cheese at Golden Ears is made from pasteurized cow milk, not organic. However, the milk does come from the Jersey farm next door, (owned by Kerry’s brother) so at least the terroir is on point, and it’s really, all in the family.
After hemming and hawing for some time (sorry people behind me in line) I finally decided to try their Tilsit cheese, as I have never before sampled Tilsit.
Tilsit,aka Tilsiterkase, AKA Tilsit Havarti was originally made by Prussian-Swiss immigtrants to the Emmental valley who had a hankering for their beloved Gouda. As they didn’t have the same ingrediants or environment, Tilsit was what happened instead.
Tilsit is usually brick-shaped and smear ripened and often (but not in my case) has extra tastes added to it such as caraway or herbs. Tilsit is popular in Switzerland and Germany and according to web sources, usually aged 12-18 weeks, although my sample is 17 months old-so clearly, it stores well! Interestingly, this Tilsit doesn’t seem to exist on the Golden Ears Website-a limited run perhaps? Oh, I do love a limited run.
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My little wedge of Tilsit is semi-firm and a handsome, strong-looking cheese. The rind is natural, and I can see the imprint of cheesecloth on it. As you get closer to the rind the cheese is a darker yellow, and I do love that. There are some small eyes in the paste. The smell is very faint and reminds me of an emmental-nutty and mellow.
Here goes: Hmmmm. I would add salt. That’s my first hit, it’s remarkably Un-salty-and you know the palate just expects salt in cheese. It’s got a nice mouth feel, it’s chewy and actually reminds me of a Mountain or Alpine cheese with that firm but yielding chew experience. The flavour is really mild and quite benign, but saying that it’s actually delicious. It’s an easy cheese to eat, fatty and warm and yummy-nothing scary here folks, just a nice, mild chilled out little cheese-perhaps good for those on a low sodium diet?
I will be back soon, as I have another cheese from this charming fromagerie to review.
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