Cheese is not part of my daily or weekly diet. Why should it be? The animal fat and salt are bullets to the heart. I will say, however, that cheese makes a wonderful treat. Small portions, now and then, are delightful.
I recently published a long piece in Gastronomica on the microbiology of cheese: The science behind the art. Through that work, I spent time with Rolf Beeler, Switzerland’s preeminent cheese maker, whom I met about 14 years ago when he was manning a showcase booth on the Reuss River at Luzern’s weekly market. The booth is still there, as Rolf is sometimes, but the core of his operation is vaster than that, what with being a supplier to stores and restaurants and corporations in Europe and the U.S.
Of note is the fact that his cheeses are difficult to find in Boston. That was not always true. Back in the day, a store, that shall go unnamed, carried many of them. When I asked the store owner why that’s no longer the case, he fibbed and told me that Beeler’s cheeses were no longer any good due to poor cellaring.
I visited the cellars, I spoke to his U.S. importer. The truth? The truth is that Rolf refuses to lower his wholesale price so that the store owner can charge his usual 400% mark-up.
Anyhow, I went ahead and purchased cheeses directly from the importer. That would be Caroline Hostettler. She’s kind of a genius when it comes to cheese. A former journalist, Caroline knows her cows, farms, and cheeses, and brings pleasure to the table.
The freight costs were unanticipatedly steep, but, oh my, what wonderful cheeses! The flavors, textures, and aromas! The depth of taste is such that I can eat a small amount and be deeply satisfied. The value is that this is dinner and lunch for several weeks.
What arrived were: Gruyere, Jersey Blue, Chardonnay Truffle, The Kiss, and Millstone Beeler. The Gruyere is simply the most flavorful on earth, no joke. The Chardonnay Truffle had flecks of black truffle that had flavor and texture.
Did I mention that Willy Schmidt’s cheese was in the batch?
Amazing stuff: Happy, happy, happy!