Hi my name is Lauren. I have been with the Vineyard Market at Bottle King for two years. I love cheese!! I never realized just how much I loved it until I began working here and all of these tantalizing cheeses were exposed to me. Yes, I have definitely tasted some that I preferred to avoid…but I must say the spectacular far outweigh those “stinkers”!! I recognize that preference is subjective. I enjoy being in the stores and chatting with the great people that are in the industry as well as our cheese-sophisticated customers. I enjoy the interaction with those who either want to know more about cheese or perhaps share their knowledge and stories with me. I have decided to start a cheese blog. I thought since I get to check out some unbelievably delicious and unusual cheeses, I could share my thoughts about them with you. (Would love to hear from you too.) So, let’s begin with our first virtual visit.
Hanfmutschli (Hanf mootchlee) was the first cheese I had the pleasure of tasting. It hails from Emmentaler Switzerland. Created in 2005 by the wife of the cheese maker, Mike Glauser, Hanfmutschli translates to “the Joint” (seems pretty apropos to the entire theme.). I noticed this cheese has many unique features. The interior paste of this cow’s milk cheese is antique ivory and infused with hemp seeds and hemp oil. After harvesting the hemp seeds, the cheese makers ice them to release their nutrients. The hemp seeds are then roasted and are scattered throughout the cheese. Hanfmutschli is a washed rind, cheese. The rind is a mellow orange brown with a distinct picture of a hemp leaf emblazoned on the outer top surface. What a neat looking cheese. When I tasted this cheese I found the texture of the cheese to be: slightly springy and semi soft. It has a strong earthy aroma (don’t let that prevent you from trying this cheese.) but a creamy, nutty yet easygoing flavor. It is truly an unusual and delicious treat. There are no hallucinogenic qualities to this cheese because of the heating of the seeds during the cheese making process. You will still attain great bliss from consuming this one. The cheese maker recommends pairing this cheese with pickled pears (very interesting). I bet it would make an awesome addition to an omelet. I enjoyed it melted on crusty Italian bread with a slice of ham on it. Yum! Kick back and enjoy this one with a soft, fruity, earthy red wine. Perhaps a glass of pinot noir or cote du Rhône. A fuller bodied white like a Rhone with the viognier, marsanne and roussane grapes will also compliment this baby.
The next cheese that I had the pleasure of sampling was the Dotziger Chardonnay, made by Ueli Moser. He is a third generation cheese maker whose family crafted traditional Swiss cheeses like Tilset and Emmenthaler. Ueli completed his apprenticeship in Switzerland and then moved to Normandy, France where he learned how to make Camembert. Upon his return to Switzerland Ueli opened a second factory where he produced innovative cheeses. He took the Camembert approach to making cheese and put his distinct Swiss signature on it. In the case of the Dozinger Chardonnay, he soaked the cheese in a traditional Swiss Chardonnay for 12 hours. I found this cheese to be full flavored, alluding to sweetness of fresh melon and crisp green apple. When I popped a piece into my mouth it was dense at first but it completely opened up into a very creamy, luscious and mild cheese. I must say I couldn’t stop at just one pop. When smelling the cheese I picked up hints of green as well as the fruitiness. This is such a scrumptious cheese. I tried this cheese with a creamy Chardonnay. Though you might like to try the opposite and pair it with sparkling wine or sauvignon blanc from New Zealand or Sancerre. Both will cut through the richness of the cheese.
Enjoyed these selections? Stay tuned there’s a whole world of cheese out there and I intend to bring it to you one delicious bite at a time!