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Our Special Holiday Cheeses!

Swiss
Alpage Gruyere and Hoch Ybrig

During the
Alpage season from April through October, the remaining Swiss farmers who
practice traditional transhumance bring their herds up to high Alpine pastures
where they graze on fresh meadows and wildflowers.  The milk produced by
these cows is considered the gold standard for Swiss cheese making, much of
which is done in rustic mountain chalets as opposed to larger, more modern
cheese plants.  As a result, the final product is almost stuck in a time
vacuum, tasting much the same as it has for centuries.  In a modern global
dairy industry that emphasizes technological innovation, large scale, and
increased automation, it’s encouraging to see traditional cheeses and cheese
making techniques that buck the trend.

We will be
offering this year’s release of Alpage Hoch Ybrig and Alpage Gruyere (both made
in the 2014 Alpage season).  While we have not yet tasted this year’s
releases, we are eagerly awaiting them.  Here is some info on prior
releases:

http://zuerchercheese.tumblr.com/post/100666107095/hoch-ybrig-alpage-made-in-the-summer-of-2013

http://zuerchercheese.tumblr.com/post/63479927623/alpage-gruyere-made-in-2012-sold-in-2013

Black
Betty 16 Month Aged Goat Gouda   

For fans of
Essex Street’s goat gouda Brabander, Black Betty is worth looking at as a
holiday addition.  They are the same cheeses, but with two entirely
different age profiles.  Brabander, encased in a white wax, is aged
between 6-9 months, depending on the time of year and flavor profile. 
Black Betty is selected from batches of Brabander that are capable of being
aged for a much longer time and comes encased in black wax.  It has a
firmer, drier texture than its younger brother.  The paste is darker, more
like a cappuccino color. Flavor is deep, sweet, and nutty with a salted caramel
goat finish that still melts on the tongue into cream. 

Despite the
considerably longer aging period, Black Betty does not carry a significant
price premium to Brabander.  This cheese can stand alone on any counter,
but it also works well next to the younger Brabander.  They provide a nice
compare and contrast taste experiment for customers, plus also create a
hunger-inducing Oreo-like appearance when a white Brabander wheel is stacked
between two Black Betty’s. 

Marcel
Petite Symphony Comte – Aged 24 M0nths Minimum

At any
point, Fort St. Antoine will be aging roughly 200,000 wheels of Comte. 
That is a staggering amount of cheese.  On top of that, the people at
Marcel Petite will evaluate the batches from the different frutieries (Comte
cheese plants) and decide which are ready to be sold, and which are capable of
being matured for an extended period.  Symphony Comte represents the
highest level a wheel of Comte can achieve at Marcel Petite.  Only 2% of
all production reaches this point.  The Symphony Comte is selected in
line with the Essex Profile of Comtes but it is bigger and more
broad in taste with a darker paste and tons of crystals.  This is a cheese
that is strong and powerful in flavor, similar to a great piece of dark
chocolate.