I believe I promised you all a cheese post featuring the most delicious cheese at the Coulommiers festival. It wasn’t a Coulommiers or Brie-type cheese that stole my heart that day. No, it was a huge wheel of mountain-grown Gruyère-style cheese named Fribourg d’Alpage.
It seems that I have inadvertently packed up the notebook containing my tasting notes for this cheese, but I suppose that’s just as well for two reasons: one, it gives me an excuse to eat some more right now; and two, it’s such a complex cheese that every time I taste something different. While previous tastings focused on the nutty, rich characteristics, this time it almost tasted piquant. Also, the longer I keep it, the more pronounced the crunchy flavor crystals become (you know, like in an aged Parmigiano-Reggiano). I suppose the flavor development could be happening because of my old friends, the cheese mites. (I am now wondering if they are transferable, as in, could I buy some crappy Comté from Monoprix, wrap it up in some paper with a mite-riddled rind, and in a few weeks have something worth eating?) At any rate, Fribourg d’Alpage is a flavor bomb. Earthy, grassy, nutty, salty, with a hint of tang and a finish that leaves you salivating for more.
My attempts to find out more about this cheese on ye olde internette have yielded nothing written specifically about Fribourg d’Alpage, but many results citing Swiss Gruyères and Vacherins d’Alpage. What I have gleaned from these is that it is a cow’s milk cheese, the milk coming from cows that graze on the mountains in the summer, producing a rich, flavorful milk. The cheese is then aged at least 12-25 weeks to produce a semi-firm wheel. Naturally, the longer it sits, the firmer it will be. I honestly think this is one cheese best enjoyed completely on its own. Really, it needs no accompaniment.
I’m just in time to send this over to the International Fête du Fromage, hosted by Chez Loulou. The delicious round-up is posted on the 15th of every month, so be sure to stop by on Thursday for lots more cyber-cheese.
Originally published on Croque-Camille.