Archive | May, 2013

La Boulette d’Avesnes

7 May

La Boulette d’Avesnes is made in Northern France from another cheese Maroilles. Indeed there is a long relationship between both products. Maroilles being a PDO product must meet stringent criteria, size, height, width, if those criteria are not satisfactory the cheese can not be called Maroilles so it is chopped up flavoured with pepper and tarragon and molded by hand in that very recognizable shape. The paprika which coats our cheese was first used by coal miners as a mean to preserve the cheese as they were working in the mine tunnels. Its shape is reminiscent of the “terrils” mounds created by excavating vast quantities of earth to extract coal.

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The cheese is nicknamed the devil’s suppository, no wonder it has got a penetrating smell, its taste is acquired, and aromatic. It may be dried up as my ancestors used to on a wooden plank empaled on a nail. You may dry yours quite easily by wrapping it up in a few layers of greaseproof paper and let it stand in your fridge as it is for a couple of months. It will become rock hard ready for grating!

Go and see the guys at http://www.unenormandealondres.co.uk for these babies!

 

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Belper knolle

7 May

Made in Switzerland, in the town of Belp. It is made from unpasteurized cow’s milk.

Originally the product was solely sold fresh and still is today. The fresh curd is flavoured with local garlic and Himalayan salt and then the ball ( knolle ) is rolled in four kinds of black pepper.

How did it become the cheese we now know?

One of those fresh cheese fell from a tray behind a rack in the fridge.

Much later as the fridge was emptied to be cleaned thoroughly, there it was, our Belper Knolle, a dried up forgotten piece of cheese which would have made its way to the bin without the intervention of our cheese maker Herr Glauser who, as a true cheese maker, decided to try the cheese.

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He was inspired as his cheese has now become a household name in Switzerland.

The guys at Jumi produce a wide range of cheese some that could not be mentioned on C4.

I recommend you to pay them a visit at Borough market.

http://www.belperknolle.ch/

Hervé a la biere

7 May

Made in Belgium, it is a soft washed rind cheese made from cow’s milk. Its name comes from the region where it is produced, the Pays d’Herve, in the province of Liège, . 

Herve cheese is the oldest Belgian cheese, it features in the novel ‘Le Roman de la Rose’ of 1228. Belgium was an important wheat grower until the 15th century when Charles Quint banned the exportation of wheat to the Netherlands. Farmers had to convert their fields in pastures which led to a sharp increase in cheese and butter production. 

Farmers, who in those times had to pay their landlord in milk, would make sure they did not milk their cow completely when the bailiff came so that when he had gone they could go and gather the richest part of the milk that had been left and make cheese with it. 

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Herve cheese has been protected by a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) since 1996, which guarantees the origin and therefore the quality of the cheese. 

The area of production, the Pays d’Herve contains a unique strain of bacteria which naturally contaminate the cheese and ripens it!  

The rennet is added to the milk to start the curdling process. The milk is stirred well and then the milk is left to rest for an hour and a half. When the curds present the correct texture, they are first roughly cut then more finely into small nut sized nuggets. The whey is left to drain out naturally on an inclined wooden draining table. Once the curds have drained and are firm, they are cut into 6 to 7 cm cubes and turned several times. The next day, the cheeses are salted, turned once more, and are then ready to be matured. They are left for 2 to 3 months in the humid, cool cheese cellar to mature. The cheeses are regularly washed with a morge ( mix of water, salt and beer ) each week. The environment created favours the local brevibacterium linen which will slowly contributes in maturing the cheese.

 When young Herve cheese is mild, and develops a piquant, fuller character with age. 

Supplier: http://www.unenormandealondres.co.uk

Almnäs Tegel

7 May

Made in Almnäs Bruk, in between Gothenburg and Stockholm.

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“The Almnäs Tegel is made out of the milk from our own herd consisting mainly of Holstein cows but also some of the Swedish red breeds and a lovely spotted one from the north.” said Thomas Nolberger, assistant to Elizabeth Andersson, the cheese maker.

The Tegel is made out of a mix of evening milk and morning milk. The evening milk is chilled only to 15 C° and with the morning milk unchilled on top, the milk arrives at the dairy at a temperature of about 23 – 25 C°. This means that the mesophilic bacteria has ample time to cut the casein into aminoacids and then on to amines to set free the aromas.

The curd is cut very fine to the size of a green pea. Afterwards the temperature is slowly raised to 51C° while slowly stirring. Then the curd is filled into the moulds, the plastic mould with the childrens footprints put on top and into the presses.

The cheese remains under very high pressure until the next morning after which it is put in the brine pool for 48 hours.

It is then washed in brine for 10 consecutive days. We normally start with the older ones to “contaminate” the young cheese with their bacterial flora. Later on the washing is reduced to 3 times a week, then 2 times a week, then once a week and then finally, oh glorious day, when needed. When the Tegel leaves Almnäs at age 24 months it has been turned and washed hundreds of times.

The Tegel is inspired by the production of bricks that started in 1750 when the manor was built and continued on up until 1976. In the beginning the bricks were made by manually putting clay into wooden moulds and then put out in the yard to dry before burning them in the furnace. The children, playing out in the yard, would run over them and their footprints were caught in the clay. This we can still be seen in the attic where there is a brick floor with many trapped footprints.Image

Our cheese is hard cooked pressed, its making is very similar to a grana, meaning grain, in relation with its grainy texture. Matured for 24 months so it has lost a lot of its humidity which makes for a rather dense cheese, somewhat like parmigiano reggiano but sweeter!

How would i enjoy it? Crumbed, a few slices of saucisson, and a glass of sauternes