March 20, 2011
Dallenwiler Wychas is a relatively mild and pleasant goat cheese. It is a friendly and approachable cheese with a sweet nutty flavor that should have broad appeal.
Dallenwiler Wychas is a firm cheese from the Oswalden region of Switzerland. It is made from pasteurized goat’s milk by Odermatt Kaserei. The cheese is produced in small chunky wheels that weigh under 2-pounds (800 grams). The cheese is washed daily with red wine during its 3-month maturation.
Dallenwiler Wychas looks like a goat cheese rolled in charcoal, but its hard rind is natural. Its dark gray and brown rind has a tight bubble pattern that gives it a rubber tread look. The cheese’s bone colored paste is marred with compressed holes. To the touch, the cheese is smooth and solid.
Dallenwiler Wychas’ interior paste has a pleasant scent of roasted nuts, but its rind smells of musty cellar, barnyard stink, and wet hay.
Dallenwiler Wychas’ flavor is sweet and nutty. It has a gentle tanginess at first, but is then predominantly sweet roasted nuts. It leaves a mild nutty after taste. The cheese has a chewy texture that is slightly rubbery. Although its rind is edible, it gives the cheese an unappealing chalkiness.
We all liked Dallenwiler Wychas a lot. We found the cheese’s sweet nutty flavor and chewy texture appealing. We polished off our entire purchase of this cheese during our tasting and my kids said it was their favorite cheese of the night. I would re-purchase this cheese again; it would make a good stand-alone cheese or would do well paired with other cheeses on a plate.
Purchase Notes: We purchased Dallenwiler Wychas at Cowgirl Creamery (San Francisco). In 2011, I have seen this cheese irregularly at Cowgirl Creamery.
November 20, 2010
Le Marechal is a lovely Swiss cheese. Its flavor is nutty, yet sweet with berries and butterscotch. At the cheese counter, Le Marechal may get overlooked in favor of reliably excellent Swiss cheeses like Gruyere or Appenzeller. I faced this very dilemma at the cheese counter, yet Le Marechal came home for our tasting.
Le Marechal is a firm cheese made from raw cow’s milk. It is produced in the Vaud region of Switzerland by a cooperative of dairies. It is aged for a minimum of 130 days before market. During its finishing, the rind’s surface is hand-rubbed with aromatic herbs.
Le Marechal has a dry brown rind that is flecked with dark green, brown and white. The rind has bits of dried herbs embedded into its surface. Le Marechal’s golden yellow paste is smooth and solid. (Unfortunately, we do not have a photo of Le Marechal because our camera’s battery was drained).
Le Marechal’s paste has a strong nutty aroma. On the rind, there are faint herbal scents that could be thyme, oregano, or a combination of Mediterranean herbs.
Le Marechal has appealing flavors. Initially, Le Marechal is nutty and salty. We also tasted a blueberry fruitiness, a rich butter flavor, and a sweet butterscotch flavor like a ripe Honsui Asian pear. Le Marechal has a chewy and slightly grainy texture. The cheese leaves a nutty after-taste.
We had mixed reactions to Le Marechal. Two of our tasters generally reject firm cheeses and Le Marechal suffered a similar dismissal. Our two other tasters liked Le Marechal. This cheese has nice flavor, texture and aroma. Le Marechal would make a nice table cheese. It would also make a good day-hike or picnic cheese.
Purchase Notes: We purchased Le Marechal at 24th Street Cheese Co. (San Francisco).
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’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).
October 19, 2010
Fosterkase, meaning “lumberjack cheese,” does not call to mind boot-strapping men with axes. Rather, it is soft and gooey and needs a fir bark band to give it some backbone. With its punched-in center and sodden band, Forsterkase looks like a vintage suitcase that has washed ashore after a storm.
Forsterkase is a soft cow’s milk cheese from Toggenburg, Switzerland. It is washed in a white wine brine. The bark band encircling its outer wall looks like wet cardboard, but the bark enhances Forsterkase’s aroma and flavor.
Forsterkase has a pinky-melon rind that feels like it has been dusted with granulated sugar. The interior paste is butter yellow and looks squishy and wet. Our photo of Forsterkase shows some collapse of the cheese; this collapse continued as the cheese remained out of refrigeration.
Fosterkase has a peculiar aroma. The interior paste smells like meat; I kept thinking of white veal sausage. The bark wrapper adds a woody cedar chest scent to the cheese that is also detectable in Forsterkase’s rind. The combination of scents is not appealing, yet these can be avoided by keeping the cheese away from the nose.
Forsterkase tastes like meat. It has smoky and savory flavors. Its flavors coat the mouth and leave a salty sour flavor on the tongue. The flavors are well-balanced and do not over-whelm. There is variety and depth to Forsterkase’s flavors that encourage slow eating. The cheese has a thick and smooth texture in the mouth.
Forsterkase was a hit during our tasting. One of our juvenile tasters rejected this cheese as “too tangy,” yet all other tasters liked it. We tasted Forsterkase on a rainy, cool day and the cheese’s richness and full flavors seem well-paired to autumn weather.
Forsterkase is not a picnic cheese, nor is it suited to a communal party plate. Yet it seems too special to eat without friends.
Purchasing Notes: We purchased Forsterkase from 24th Street Cheese Co. (San Francisco). The cheesemonger cut our sample from a fresh round, so there was no degradation or collapse before purchase. During our tasting, Forsterkase continued to collapse into the plate the longer it was out of refrigeration.