I don’t know what it is about the cheeses of Switzerland, but each year, we find ourselves completely unable to resist a single bite, and we wind up going back into the kitchen to slice a second serving. This month, I very strictly portioned off our plate, but damn was it hard.
First up was the gruyere. This was a firm and semi-dry cheese (all of the cheeses we enjoyed were from cows’ milk) that was also quite creamy and terrific with the champagne raspberry honey mustard from Castoro Cellars.
Next was raclette, which is apparently the ‘World’s Most Melted Cheese.’ We unfortunately do not have a fondue pot (note to husband: my birthday is in 7 months), but I can see how this would be a great cheese for dipping things into. It’s very soft and creamy, and the flavor is so mild that it wants to be paired with something else. This made it a pretty perfect match for any of our dipping sides.
Our third cheese was the emmentaler. This was a firm but creamy cheese that had a stronger, more earthy flavor than the first two cheeses. This made it the right match for the mustards, including the hard-to-pair-with (but delicious) truffle mustard from The Mustard Co.
Finally, we enjoyed the appenzeller, the stinkiest cheese in our sampler. Although it was definitely a stinky cheese, the flavor was still mild enough to keep it very versatile. In fact, our favorite dip accompaniment for this cheese was the Thai chili honey from apoidea apiary, the finest place for honey in the area!
Since it was Valentine’s Day this month, we had an added little treat with our cheese plate: an assortment of chocolates from Sinful Sweets (leftover from the massive portion we got a few nights earlier at Allegheny Wine Mixer). If you’re not pairing cheese with chocolate, you’re missing a little something special.
It was hard to not just tear through this plate in a few minutes, but we were (emotionally) strong and paced ourselves through it. The swiss cheeses, all being on the firm side, store pretty well and can be enjoyed as a snack for days after your initial serving.
We did manage to have some cheese leftover, and I put them to use in a BBC Good Food recipe for a cheesy Swiss bake. I like BBC Good Food recipes because they’re usually pretty tasty, and also because I spend half the prep time giggling over their instructions like, ‘add a knob of butter’ (is this Ukrainian broad’s ‘knob of butter’ the same as a British gal’s?) and portion sizes like ‘most’ and ‘a little’.
I did take it upon myself to add a sizable clump of minced garlic (because, I mean, it’s me, come on), but otherwise followed the recipe as described. I used heavy cream in place of the pot double cream, because that’s something we can’t get in the US (I didn’t end up needing the creme fraiche pictured above, because I had more heavy cream than I originally thought). The only adjustment I’d make if I remade this is to omit the white wine. Since the heavy cream is a thinner texture than pot double cream would be, it becomes a little too watery if you add that extra 125ml of liquid. But otherwise, flavor-wise, these were fabulous. I liked the way the cheese got a bit crispy on top, and the potatoes were soft and tasty.
I think it’s safe to say that if we ever find ourselves in Switzerland some day, you may be reading about a shortage of Swiss cheese in the news. It’s sooooo good.