Honestly, one of my favorite things about this time of year is that it's socially acceptable to melt cheese on everything! Maybe you've seen all those glorious videos of Raclette oozing off the plate? Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. While there are few things as satisfying, there are plenty of cheeses out there that can pull double duty. Ones that taste fantastic right off the wheel and also melt well in your grilled cheese. I'll admit that Alpine style cheeses are usually some of my personal favorite. They just hit a sweet spot in my brain that is immensely comforting. Now, maybe you heard the NPR story on the popularity of fondue and that it was due to a Swiss Cheese Cartel. It's hard to believe that something so strange could be true! There were other repercussions to the Schweizer Kasseunion (Swiss Cheese Union). Swiss Cheese makers were not allowed to make cheeses outside of the cheese they were commissioned to make. For example, if a cheesemaker made Emmental, they were not allowed to make any other type of cheese. While good for consistency of Switzerland's top selling products, this stifled innovation and progress while sending lots of traditional cheeses to the underground markets of Switzerland. It was impossible to differentiate between cheeses made by different cheesemakers because the marketing was controlled by this government agency. ( Here's an extended take on the whole situation.) Even though there are strict regulations involved in most name controlled cheeses, there is an art in creation and affinage that each cheesemaker deserves credit for. Well, the Schweizer Kasseunion was disbanded in the late 1990's and now cheesemakers are able to keep their day jobs with making Gruyere and Emmental while also making other cheese, new and old. Schnebelhorn is one such cheese.
Made by a third generation cheesemaker whose family makes Appenzeller, Schnebelhorn has the tradition of the past while having the freedom and flavor of innovation. The addition of cream to the raw milk is not usually seen in this style of cheese but it adds a depth of flavor unmatched by many cheeses of it's age range at 8-9 months old. The creaminess is evident in its texture but it also carries a bit of pleasing grittiness. It's perfect for snacking and it would be a killer addition to any melting recipe!
I paired it with Quince and Apple's Raspberry Rose preserves and it was divine. The cream in the cheese balances some of the tartness in the raspberry while the rose is enhanced by the sweet, floral notes in the cheese.
This could be a deserted island pairing. It's that good.
What's your favorite Alpine cheese? What do you pair with it?
Are you going to the Winter Fancy Food show in San Fransisco next week? Well, I'll be there working with Quince and Apple so please come and taste some goodies and lets talk pairing! They were so generous to send me their full line up so I could really delve in and conjure up some combinations! Hope to see you there!
Can't make it to California? Be sure to follow my adventures on Instagram and Facebook where I will be posting photos and stories from my cheesy travels!