Day 88-Mont St. Benoit

Here’s something you probably already know: the internet is full of creepers!  As the administrator of this blog I am privy to the search terms used to find this blog on any given day.  Yesterday someone-or let’s hope something  used a pretty heinous and personal search term to locate this one.  Hence, my profile picture is changed to a cheese for privacy reasons.  So, to you super creepy internet assholereally?  I hope you aren’t getting that worked up over a little bit of cheese.  That’s just sad.

Perhaps then, it is excellent timing that today’s cheese is actually made by monks, and Benedictine monks at that.  The very presence of a truly monastic cheese will drive the negative vibes away~~~~~ Here’s a little confession.  I have a cheese-monk-fantasy thing which has yet to be satisfied in my 88 days of cheese.  I know that sounds a little twisted, but let me explain myself.  There is a clearly established historic connection between monasteries and great cheeses.  Why this is, I’m not sure.  Maybe monks had lots of milk, time and damp cellars on their hands.  Regardless,  many of the great cheeses were initially created by monks, and then later adapted by others.  Most of these cheeses are no longer made by the monks.  Time after time I have been foiled in my endeavour to sample real live monk cheese, but that all comes to an end today with Mont St. Benoit, made at L’Abbeye St. Benoit!

Mont St. Benoit is the real deal, made by real Benedictine monks, at a real monastery.  This is, in fact, the only cheese dairy in North America run by Benedictine monks, so I have hit the jackpot.  The Abbey of Saint-Benoît-du-Lac, founded in 1912, numbers a little more than fifty monks living in the municipality of Saint Benoit du lac just East of Montreal. Separated from the world, their worship includes manual as well as intellectual work. They form a community under the direction of an Abbot.

Benedictine life virtually disappeared in France at the Revolution.  In 1901 anticlerical laws in France drove all the Benedictine monks into exile, thus this was initially a community of French exiles, which may explain the cheese. According to their website URL http://www.st-benoit-du-lac.com/chooser2/chooser2.html Benedict said that to be a true monk one must “live by the work of one’s hands.”  This work helps to provide for the needs of the monastery, and at this monastery they needed cheese.  I kind of adore the thought of a group of Benedictine monks having their own website, it’s a fantastic juxtaposition between the old and the new, really go and check it out.  They sell 10 cheeses called  “fromages de l’Abbae” including my Mont St. Benoit.

Alas, that’s about all the info I could find on Mont St. Benoit, it’s almost like someone has taken a vow of silence!  The website does state that the cheeses are all made by the monks, and that they have been making cheese here since 1943.  It doesn’t state where the milk comes from, or if it is organic, but these things are usually stated if they are the case.  It’s probably safe to assume it’s not organic and the milk comes from somewhere other than the abbey-which may explain why this is a pasteurized cheese, not raw.  The only other public statement regarding this cheese, is that it is made from cow’s milk and is “Swiss Style,” whatever that means.  I find that a baffling phrase, as Swiss cheese varies about as much as any other cheese.

My slice of Godly, yet mysterious Mont. St. Benoit cheese is a soft-looking yellow cheese with large eyes-or holes-throughout the cheese body.  As mentioned previously, this occurs by naturally forming gasses caused by bacteria when the cheese is being produced.  My sample is a small one, so there’s just one big eye winking at me.  There is no discernible rind, and the smell is soft and pleasing to the nose, it’s a mild cheese.

Here goes…

mmmm, a toothsome little snack.  The taste is extremely dialled back, it’s quite mild and lacks any bite or saltiness: it’s a safe cheese.  Mont St. Benoit is totally understated in flavour.   However, the texture is really groovy.  It’s got a perfect chew to it, it’s soft, chewy, yet yielding at the same time, you just want to bathe your teeth in its chewy goodness.  I bet this one would be great melted.  I personally like a cheese that bites a little more in terms of flavour, but the texture on this one is so perfect, I will be a repeat offender. Hallelujah!

 

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Day 78-Halloumi

 

A friend and I were chatting about this blog last night.  “Is it a midlife crisis?”  She asked. I was slightly chagrined.  I don’t think it is a midlife crisis.  First, I’m 39 years old.  Am I old enough?  Second, who has a mid-life crisis involving cheese?  Am I that weird?  Maybe.

Speaking of crisis, there is also a crisis in the Mediterranean.  It’s called “what Willow has been saying about our cheese.”  I’ve had two terrible experiences with cheese from this area, but I’m happy to report that I have gotten to the root of the problem-it’s salt.  It is hot in the Mediterranean, they don’t have nice cold caves.  In order to preserve cheese they need to involve salt.  A lot of salt.  It just had to happen that way, and I need to get over it.

The Island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean is the birthplace of the beloved and much celebrated cheese, Halloumi.   The name Halloumi derives from the Greek word “almi” – meaning salty water-which is further proof of my salt hypothesis. Halloumi is an integral and traditional part of the Cyrpiot diet.  It’s very popular in Crete, Greece, and oddly, Sweden.

Historically Halloumi was the basic requirement of the island diet.  All families needed a good stock of it to get through the winter months when there was no milk. Entire villages worked together to process milk to meet the communal Halloumi needs. All stages of Halloumi making was controlled by a special woman known as a “galatarka” or cheese woman.  She controlled and organized the making of the cheese.

Although it is still made traditionally on the farm,  (perhaps by galatarkas) due to a huge demand for export  Halloumi is more commonly made in factories.  While the original cheese is made from raw sheep’s milk, the factory cheese is made from a less expensive and also pasteurized mixture of sheep,  goat and cow milk.  Halloumi purists feels this has had a negative impact on the taste.  Because of this milk issue, Halloumi does not yet have PDO status.  In order to do so it would have to have an agreed upon ratio of cow to sheep and goat milk.  Thus, for the time being it is not a protected name in the EU.

Similar to the Italian pasta filata cheeses like mozzarella and provolone which are stretched, halloumi is kneaded to create the chewy and unique texture. Halloumi is  formed by submerging the fresh curd in hot whey to soften. It’s then kneaded and  placed in baskets where it is hand-folded into small cheeses. There is virtually no aging.  The cheese is packaged and ready for sale immediately.  Halloumi is often found garnished with mint which both adds to the taste and also acts as a kind of preservative because of its anti-bacterial effect.  Halloumi  is stored in its natural brine and juice and can keep frozen for up to a year!

Halloumi seems to be one of those rare cheeses that people make at home.  The ‘net is full of Halloumi recipes (just like grandma galatarka made!).  Even Nigella Lawson took on making Halloumi for her cooking show. My package of Halloumi said “try it barbecued!” which is something you just don’t expect to see on a cheese.  People  love to grill their Halloumi over the open flame.  It’s the only cheese that doesn’t melt and retains it’s shape with heat.  As it is currently  5 AM in Vancouver in January, that’s not going to happen.  But we will attempt some sort of facsimile.

My slice of Halloumi looks exactly like mozzarella.  It’s pure white with no rind.  When I removed it from its package it was bathed in a little bit of brine.  It looks rubbery.  There is no smell at all.

Here goes…

Fresh it’s quite mild and a little sweet.  It’s loud.  It’s like a really loud, chewy and salty and rubbery mozzarella.  It squeaks on my teeth like a poutine curd.  I don’t taste the sheep or goat at all.  The flavour is quite subtle and salty, but the texture is odd.  It won’t melt .When you chew and chew it, the paste just breaks into smaller pieces.

Now grilled (in my George Foreman, what’s a girl to do)…

Oh, I like this better. It’s crispy on the outside and now the texture has changed-it still squeaks, but at least it breaks down when you chew it.  The squeaking is totally bizarre, it’s like eating live mice.  Every bite is protesting loudly. Mmm, it’s really yummy grilled, I get it, do try it barbecued!

Well, it’s definitely the most palatable of my foray into the cheese of the Mediterranean. It’s not the most toothsome cheese,  but I kind of like it!

Day 76-Kefalotyri DOC

What makes a great cheese?  Is it an amazing history?  Is it a flavour that makes the hair stand up on your arms?  Or is it-perhaps-an organized advertising campaign?  Before starting this blog, I would have assumed some combination of the first two- but I am realizing-with some disappointment,  that it’s often the advertising that’s really the key.

Some cheeses, like parmigiano-reggiano and Appenzeller have their own organized advocates who ensure that their good name is well represented in the world, and in the world of cheese.  These amazing consortiums have websites, rules, regulations, and advertising campaigns.  As a result, their cheeses are well-known and dependable.  Other cheeses, like today’s Greek Kefalotyri, seem to be virtually un-championed.

I had an extremely challenging time finding out much about kefalotyri, despite the fact that it has been around since at least the 10th century BC.  Yes, that’s right-this is a Byzantinian cheese.  It is virtually invisible on the ‘net, except as an afterthought or footnote-which is a shame for such a historically important cheese.  Although you may have never heard of the Greek favorite, Kefalotyri (because of lack of advertising, no doubt) you have most likely seen it at Greek restaurants served as the dish, Saganaki.  Saganaki  is made of slices of Kefalotyri covered in egg and bread crumbs and then deep fried and served with lemon.  Yup, deep-fried cheese sticks old school style.  Kefalotyri also sometimes appears in Spanikopita (spinach Pie) instead of Feta-so we are eating this cheese, but it’s far under our radar.

Greeks love their cheese, and they have been eating it arguably longer than anyone else. I was surprised to learn that the Greeks eat more cheese per capita than anyone else in the world-including Italians and French!  Maybe they are too busy eating their cheese to write about it?  Who knows?  It’s all Greek to me.

The name Kefalotyri comes from Greek word “kefalo” that means hat-as the cheese is roughly hat-shaped. Kefalotyri can be made with sheep’s milk, or a combination of sheep and goat.  Either way it is protected by the DOC as a historically important and significant cheese.  Not that anyone appears to care.  It is traditionally made from raw milk, but pasteurized versions also exist.  Kefalotyri is known in Greece as the male cheese as it is made with full-fat milk- as opposed to the female cheeses which are made with whey.   Hmmph.

I have been unable to determine exactly where this cheese is made.  Is it industrial?  Is it farm-made?  No one’s talking.  Regardless, the milk is heated, curdled, and packed into molds.  When it comes out of the molds Kefalotyri is salted, which acts to preserve the cheese and allow it to become firmer.  The cheese ages for three to four months before it is sold. A layer of paraffin is applied to the aged cheese to protect it from drying.

Apparently the appearance of kefalotyri varies throughout the year depending on the ratio of sheep to goat’s milk being used.  There are no hard and fast rules, it’s kind of however it all works out. At some times of the year, kefalotyri is white, and other seasons it is yellow. In either case, this is a very hard cheese which gets firmer as it ages, forming small interior eyes in the cheese paste.

My little slice of Kefalotyri is full of mystery and legendary tales-if only it could speak!  It’s a wan, almost white cheese, so it’s probably more goat, and less sheep.  It’s a firm looking cheese with tiny eyes, I can’t see any rind, or paraffin, but maybe that’s was removed at the cheese shop.  The smell is very mild, I don’t get any hint of sheep or goat, and would swear this was a cow cheese.  Except it isn’t.

Here goes…

Ah, but it is a goat and sheep cheese.  That’s now obvious.  It’s incredibly salty-the saltiest cheese yet.   That makes it challenging to really get to the flavour-except that the goat and sheep tang is also quite predominant. The salt is really over the top. I get that it was historically needed as a preservative, but dial it back a little, people!  Maybe it’s also white from all the salt. The texture isn’t really doing anything for me either-it’s quite firm, and refuses to melt in my mouth, it just sits there on my tongue, like a salt lozenge made of goat. Yuck!

OK, Kefalotyri, I have to respect your history, despite your heinous lack of internet presence, (and taste) neither of which is really your fault.  Although this isn’t my slice of cheese, I do think it needs a cheese champion.  If any Greeks are reading, maybe this is your golden opportunity!

Day 75-Appenzeller Surchoix


I’m 3/4 of the way through my cheese journey today!  I have learned so much.  There is so much left to learn. Much of the truth of cheese can’t actually be learned though, that’s the problem.  Cheese is an emotional vector-it isn’t just about the substance, it is the intangibles-personal memories and connections.  That’s why it’s challenging to review some cheese-particularly cheese with a long and storied history-it’s like telling you your grandma is ugly.  Not cool, right?  But maybe she is ugly.  Is it so wrong to call it?

Speaking of ancient and emotionally poignant cheese, today’s cheese, Appenzeller-has been around for at least 700 years.  It is thus, guaranteed to have quite the following.   Appenzeller is another one of those cheeses I had only heard of before today.  It turns out that it is one of the most important of the Swiss cheeses.  Appenzeller, along with Emmenthaler and Gruyère form the Swiss triumvirate of cheese- also known as the classic Swiss fondue.  I was excessively fond of Gruyère, but turned my nose up to Emmenthaler, so It will be interesting to see where Appenzeller places.

Appenzeller is made in the Swiss mountainous area between Lake Constance and the Säntis massif cleverly known as Appenzellerland. Happy Swiss cattle graze in the alpine meadows and provide the raw milk from which Appenzeller cheese is made. Interestingly, Appenzeller is a total hold-out to the designation process.  By all rights it should be a DOP or AOC protected cheese.  It’s ancient, made in a specific area with specific milk only-however, in order to get this designation the creators of the cheese would have to give up their secret brine recipe-and they steadfastly refuse to do so!  Thus, they have attempted to trademark the name Appenzeller, it appears as Appenzeller® on their website, but it lacks the actual protection of the DOP designation.

I know I mention websites an awful lot here, but you really must check out the official one for Appenzeller-make sure you select English.  It’s utterly fascinating with great photos, URL http://appenzeller.ch/#die-sennen/881.  These are damn good-looking people making some cheese!  You know that stereotype of the Swiss mountain girl and Swiss mountain lad, frolicking through the alpine and blowing on large wooden horns-perhaps saying “Riccola?”  Those were, apparently, Appenzeller makers.

Although Appenzeller is a traditional cheese of this region, there are now just three local cooperative dairies producing it.  The milk comes exclusively from the Simmenthaler cow. Appenzeller comes in both raw and pasteurized, so check with your label if it matters-although as an aged cheese, it shouldn’t be a problem either way.  Once the curd is formed and molded it is then moved to the maturing rooms for aging.  The young cheeses are regularly washed in the secret solution referred to as “mysterious herbal brine” a phrase which appeals to my inner hippie child. Each dairy uses a slightly  different recipe for its mysterious herbal brine, and all are kept under lock and key.  There are three types of Appenzeller :Classic-4 months old, Surchoix-6 months (this is my sample today) and Extra-over 6 months.

My large slice of Appenzeller has been keeping me company as I write.  The longer it waits, the more I can smell it. I appreciate a cheese that announces its presence thusly. The cheese has a yellow paste with large eyes-it is, after all a real Swiss cheese-so they belong there.  The cheese paste gets darker near the rind-it must be that mysterious herbal brine that stains the cheese body.  The rind is thick and dark brown.This cheese smells fantastic, it’s strong and savoury-but not raunchy-it smells like a cheese’s cheese- like mushrooms and toes and locker-room towels-but in the very best way possible.

Here goes…

Your grandma is ugly.  No, really, I don’t like this cheese.  Sorry Swiss Mountain folk. It is quite savoury and piquant, but it lacks salt to close the taste.  It brings you up, then leaves you hanging.  It’s a tease.  It’s a little bitter and strangely a little uric acid tasting (that means pee) and I say strangely, as this is a firm and aged cheese.  Usually that nonsense is over with after a couple of months. Appenzeller also tastes a little like alcohol to me-it’s a funny aftertaste in the back of my mouth that’s just not  working.

OK, I’m going to melt this to see if it helps-it is a fondue cheese, after all.Mmmmm, ok, melting it totally helps with the weird aftertaste.  It’s just chilled out and melty and yummy. I could do this on a grilled cheese no problem.

Appenzeller, I appreciate you keeping it real, but I think I’ll stick with Gruyère if I’m having a hankering for a Swiss Mountain cheese.

Day 59-Boschetto al Tartufo

When I started this blog I intended to eschew all cheeses with stuff in them.  Cheddar-with chives, Gouda-with seeds, it all seemed a little artificial to me.  I mean, if the cheese isn’t good enough on its own, will throwing some onion, or cranberry or basil really smarten it up?  As well, is it fair to compare a cheese with stuff in it to a stand alone cheese?  Is the  add-on actually giving the cheese un unfair advantage?  These are the sorts of thoughts I wrestle with in order to bring  you-oh gentle reader-the very best cheese blog possible.

But then, the other day I ate some of this cheese quite by accident-this Boschetto al Tartufo, and it was just divine.  Tartufo means truffle so really, you can see how outrageously biased and unfair the rest of this essay if going to be.  If you add truffle to anything it will become 25% better. I’m sure that’s been scientifically proven.  There’s something about those little mushrooms that drives us humans, and well, pigs as well-insane.  The smell and the flavour hints at mystery, and adventure, and love, and all things good.  To add this to any cheese, even dare I say a “cheese product” would make that substance cross over to a whole other level of taste.  Totally unfair.  However, what’s done is done.  I must sample this cheese, and I must write about it.  Forgive me, I know that I sin, but I am mortal.  Speaking of sin, I have just realized that this is only my second Italian cheese, and that’s just unacceptable. I pledge henceforth to venture into Italy mouth first after a quick detour to Ireland tomorrow.

Back to truffles, truffles are the fruiting body of a mushroom, actually found underground,  usually around the roots of trees.  They don’t grow in North America and are mostly found in France and Italy, which is just mean. They are outrageously expensive, yet so pungent in flavour that you only need the smallest amount to make an impact. If you haven’t ever eaten truffle, go out and find some now.  You can purchase little containers of truffle infused oil at many stores which is generally pretty affordable and flavourful.  Drizzle it over everything that’s a savoury and suddenly- all will praise your cooking.  It’s my secret weapon.   Brillat Savarin, the French gastronome  declared truffles the “the diamond of the kitchen,” and he is correct.

I’m going on about truffles here, because as it turns out, Boschetto al Tartufo is a tough cheese to find out much about on the internet. All I can discern is that it is a pasteurized cheese made from a mixture of sheep and cow milk and slivers of white truffle, which are actually black in colour-strangely. This cheese is aged for a maximum of 2 months, and actually belongs to a tradition of truffle cheeses in Italy. Who knew?  That’s what I get for overlooking Italy!  My sample is from Il Forteto, a food distribution co-operative outside of Florence who make a number of cheeses, olives and other yummies.  That’s it, no history, no monks, no caves.  Disappointing.

My little wedge of Boschetto al Tartufo beckons me to overlook this paucity of information.  It’s a pure white cheese with no discernible rind at all.  There are black slivers of truffle throughout the cheese body-some sources claim the rind is also rubbed with truffle oil, and I do hope this is the case.  It looks to have the texture of a mozzarella-kind of rubbery.  The smell is intriguing, I can definitely get a hint of sheep-that’s the “oops, I stepped in the milk bucket” odour, but there’s something else, that otherworldly truffle thing that just makes me a little crazy.  The truffle actually overwhelms everything else about this cheese, but that’s ok, it’s allowed to.

Here goes…

Ohhhhhhh, mmmmm, ahhhhhhh.  You should be so jealous right now.  I don’t care who makes this cheese, or what the freaking history is, just go out and buy it. The taste is completely out of this world.  It’s a little salty, but that’s ok, as it serves as a foil to the perfect pairing of sheep and truffle, an exotic and sexy little menage. The texture is also crazy good, it’s not rubbery at all, I was wrong!  It actually melts the second you put it in your mouth, and spreads its truffley goodness. Apparently it’s just freaking amazing also melted on a grilled cheese (seems so wrong it just might be right) or risotto, or in an omelette.  But who can save it long enough to melt it?

This cheese could become a bad habit.  Just go out and buy some and thank me later.

Day 26-Vacherin Fribourgeois AOC

 
My family is staying over for the weekend: mother, step father, brother-in-law and nephew.  This morning-at 5 AM, my mother and brother-in-law joined me in a discussion about cheese.  Brother-in-law had a dream that my blog was called “from Gruyère to Eternity,” but thought-upon waking, that is wasn’t that funny.  Mother wanted to know how the blogging was going in general, and in general, it’s going well for a relatively vile act of narcissism and gluttony.

They both wanted to smell my cheese this morning-and how often can you actually write that line? One said it smelled “like feet” and the other, “it smells Swiss, actually it smells like female genitalia” (although not using that word).”  We eventually agreed that is potentially smells like Swiss genitalia-and we mean that in the very best way.

This cheese is a pasteurized cow’s milk cheese from Switzerland.  As it has the AOC designation, it is a regional and protected product made from cheese of the Alps, specifically the Frieburg High plateau-a true Mountain cheese.This cheese is made from cow’s milk that is delivered to the fromagerie each day.  It’s often used in fondue with Gruyère or in raclette-this cheese likes to be melted (who doesn’t?)

It was difficult to find much more information about Vacherin Fribourgeois.  Although it has been around since at least the middle of the 15th century, Vacherin Fribourgeois seems to live forever in the shadow of Gruyere.  I have found no mention of this cheese that doesn’t talk about Gruyère in the same sentence-an unfavored  second son, from the looks of it.

My Vacherin Fribourgeois looks a lot creamier and softer than Gruyère, it’s also a lot smaller than the massive rounds of Gruyère (see, I am mentioning Gruyère again, poor Vacherin!) It is pale yellow with a brown inedible rind.  I can smell it through the wrapper, and as already established it is a pungent little cheese-I guess then it’s the smelly little brother of Gruyère.

Here goes…

Hmmmm.  This is yummy.  It’s a little more acidic than I was expecting, almost with an astringent after-bite.  It has a fabulous texture, melting straight away with a lovely tongue feel.  There is no discernible tyrosine-protein crunch nodules-alas!  It’s perfectly salty and quite flavourful-but a little sharp for me, there is no sweetness to be found in this cheese, nor any raunch, so it’s missing two of my favourite components in anything- people or cheese.  My mom likes it, but she’s very open minded.  My nephew says, “it almost made me barf ’cause it smelled so bad,” (but he is 7, wait until he gets a whiff of Epoisses.)

Let’s try it melted…

Well, the melting really chills this cheese out, you can barely taste it now, how strange!  It’s like a tom cat with its balls chopped off-what happened?  I guess if you are looking for a benign melted goo this would be a good bet, otherwise, I personally will take a pass.

Vacherin Fribourgeois-get back in line behind Gruyère, where you belong.  I give you a 3 out of 5 which includes a bonus mark for being compared to
Gruyere (my God, it is “from Gruyere to eternity!”
)


Day 25-Gruyere Etivaz AOC

I have a-slightly-obsessive personality.  It takes a while to get on my radar, but once my little eye-and mouth-has settled on something it’s a done deal.  I am speaking here of Gruyere.  Yesterday I sampled my first real Gruyere-not supermarket crap-and I just can’t get it out of my mind.  Driving my child to school: Gruyere.  Going for a run: Gruyere.  Taking the car to the shop: Gruyere.  Thus, imagine my great joy and surprise to note that I had another Gruyere to sample today!

Well, I think I spoke at length yesterday about what Gruyere is (awesome) and why you should eat it (because it’s the best), and also a huge warning (the name isn’t protected unless it says AOC so you could be eating some processed fake gruyere so BE CAREFUL). Also, if it’s real Gruyere there are all sorts of fabulous rules about how it’s made including copper kettles and caves lined with unplanned specific types of wood.  As well, whatever small difference there is between the creation of Gruyere and it’s almost twin, Emmenthaler makes a huge difference in that I actually DESPISE Emmenthaler and never want to taste it again, where as I wold gladly roll naked in Gruyere (that’s another blog post.)

This type of Gruyere, Gruyere Etivaz AOC states (on its label) that it is a raw milk unpasteurized cheese from Switzerland (we know that), but further, “this is basically 19th century Gruyere, made by a group of 76 devoted families who felt that the government regulations were allowing cheese makers to compromise the qualities that made god Gruyere so special.  It may be made only when the cows are doing their summer alpine grazing.  It must be made in traditional copper cauldrons and only over old style open wood fires.”  Super hard core-I love it!  These are Gruyere purists, and I take my hat off to them .

My tiny (too small, I’m sad) slice of Gruyere Etivaz smells so strongly that I can actually smell it through the wrapper, which is a first for the Mountain Cheeses.  It’s beckoning me to eat it.  It is so pretty, so creamy with brown rind.  I am weak. Now I’m really smelling it up close, mmm, not rotten smelling, but very pungent, very cheese-licious.

here goes…

Very salty-that’s my first hit-yummy, true, but SO SALTY.  The texture is divine-of course, nice paste that melts quickly, but holy hannah, the salt.  My step dad just loves salt and over salts everything, once I bit into his salad by mistake and just recoiled at the extra salt-that’s what is happening here.  I was so jacked up to eat this cheese, but the overwhelming salt is kind of freaking me out.  It also lacks the tyrosine crunchy protein crystals of yesterday’s cave aged Gruyere-that makes me sad, I was so looking forward to my tyrosine crystals.

let’s try it melted…wow, the melted texture is just PERFECT, exactly what you would pray for-if you were the type to pray for cheese (like me), and the flavour-toothsome, mushroomy, loamy, yummy-but: utterly too salty for my taste buds.

Gruyere Etivaz AOC-you get a 4 out of 5 which includes a deduction for extra salt.  I would go for the Cave Aged Gruyere if choosing between the two delicious sister cheeses.