Challerhocker: Cheese with a View

October 21, 2010

Challerhocker took us straight back to the Swiss Alps. Eating this cheese reminded us of alp kase (literally, farm cheese) that we bought from small mountain dairies in Switzerland. It was hard to eat this cheese without thinking of the Swiss countryside, the Alps, and grazing cows. We could almost envision a farmer making Challerhocker over a fire-stoked cauldron.

Challerhocker is a firm cow’s milk cheese from Toggenburg, Switzerland. It is made with thermalized milk, a process of quick low temperature pasteurization. It is aged in a cellar for less than 1 year (Challerhocker means “sitting in the cellar”), and has a washed rind.

Challerhocker

Challerhocker’s blonde paste is firm and unmarred by fissures or holes. The reddish-brown rind is covered with small bumps. Both the rind and the paste have a sweet peanut aroma.

Challerhocker’s nutty flavor dominates the cheese, but there are also sweet and sour flavors to balance its nuttiness. Its flavor is initially sweet and peanutty, but then ends sour and tangy. Challerhocker leaves a long nutty after-taste.

In the mouth, Challerhocker is chewy. It has tiny crystallized bits in the paste that add delicate flavor and texture. Challerhocker slices easily with a table knife.

Challerhocker challenged our tasters; we never reached consensus on this cheese. Two tasters–who do not like firm cheeses generally–were not impressed with Challerhocker. One juvenile taster liked Challerhocker but wasn’t wild about it, and I really liked Challerhocker.

Challerhocker is a cheese that I would purchase again for almost any occasion. It would make a great cheese for a picnic, the dinner table, a day-hike, snacking, or a party. This cheese is delicious on its own and doesn’t need any accompaniment.

Purchasing Notes: We purchased Challerhocker at 24th Street Cheese Co. (San Francisco).

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