Thursday, November 12, 2009

Soft... Stinky... Swiss... So Good.... Vacherin Mont d'Or

Here's an excerpt from a wonderful article that explains how to eat the soft cheese, Vacherin Mont d'Or (link below).

The thing about this soft, runny and often distinctly stinky cheese, the zone of production of which straddles the Swiss-French border, is that it makes the most glorious meal when put into a hot oven until it is thoroughly heated through and is even more molten than at room temperature. You then tear up lots of crusty bread and dunk until you have removed every last scrap, right down to the bare birch wood that forms the cheese’s wrapper. Actually, the cheese comes in a little box made of pine, while the cheese itself is contained with a circle of birch. All in all, quite woody stuff.

Strictly speaking, you’re supposed to punch holes in the cheese and drizzle with white wine. The trouble is, if the cheese is ripe, the holes close up as soon as they’re made and the wine seeps out of the wooden container. Some people like to sprinkle on a finely chopped clove of garlic (something I’ve yet to do) but I prefer a lot of coarsely crushed black peppercorns and a splash of wine just for luck. The Swiss, being a terribly organised people, put some foil around the box to keep everything inside, which is a good idea. Don’t forget to put the lid back on before putting it in the oven. (Our Vacherin Mont d’Or came from Iago in Cork’s English Market, but you can get it from all serious cheesemongers; people argue about the French versus the Swiss version but this is way beyond me; the bread was Declan Ryan’s Arbutus sourdough).

One small Vacherin, a loaf of good bread and a simple green salad makes one of the best meals you can have. And it’s not exactly cooking. It’s a seasonal treat, because this is, essentially, a Winter cheese. Next time, I think I’ll try it with thyme.

Read about wine pairings and other musings in the full article here

1 comment:

CheeseGoddess said...

Fantastic, WILBO43! Thanks for commenting and sharing that website with me. Love to connect with fellow cheese gourmands!!