We’ve three mountain cheeses for you this month that carry the 20% discount – look out for the red star.
Raclette – this semi-hard cheese is made on both sides of the French and Swiss Alps with unpasteurised milk of cows that graze the alpine meadows. It has a thin brownish-orange coloured rind and pale yellow pate with a few scatted open holes and distinctive and pleasant aroma. Its creamy texture is similar to a Gruyere though it doesn’t separate even when melted and the flavour varies from nutty, slightly acidic to milky. The name comes from the French racler meaning to scrape; in Switzerland Raclette is the classic dish where the cheese is melted in front of a fire or special machine and then scrapped over potatoes and served with pickled onions and air-dried meat.
Rob from Corney & Barrow suggests the Picpoul de Pinet from Domaine de Morin Langaran as a perfect match for the savouriness of the cheese and a wine. Harvested on the banks of Lake Thau, in sight of the famous oyster-beds of Bouzigues – itself has a pleasing, mineral refreshment to it. The wine is perfect for slightly saltier dishes and cheeses. Expect delicate white flower on the nose and a silky mouthfeel that should support the similarities found in the Raclette.
Vacherin – the season is back for this melt in the mouth thick creamy cheese that is only made with pasteurised cow’s milk in France and Switzerland from 15th August to 31st March when the cows come down from the mountains and their milk is fattier and richer. Full flavoured, the cheese is a star feature on the festive cheeseboard and comes into its own when served on a spoon at room temperature or warmed in the oven to accompany potatoes or crispy bread. If purchased in a box, it is delicious baked – push a few garlic cloves and rosemary into the cheese, add splash of white wine, wrap in foil and bake 160⁰C for 15-20 minutes – mop up with crusty bread or vegetable sticks.
Champagne says Rob! And none better than Corney & Barrow’s fabulous Delamotte Brut NV, which should cut right through the fatty richness of the cheese with its precision and tautness. A match made in contrast! Really a fabulous wine of refinement that beckons from the cellar for all occasions – and let us define the bovine descent that provides us with such a lovely cheese as the Vacherin, a relative occasion spéciale indeed!
Kaltbach Creamy – a semi-soft Swiss cheese made with finest fresh Swiss cream and fresh pasteurised cow’s milk. It is matured in the ancient sandstone caves of Kaltbach where it develops its full character and the natural black, brown rind is formed. Soft and smooth, it has a full rounded melt in the mouth flavour and texture, is subtle and aromatic but not too tangy and a delicious alternative to Gruyere. Serve with tart fruit, pickles or crusty sourdough.
Merlot Belvedere it is! A wine most congenial, delivered unto us by master Italian winemaking family Cecilia Beretta. Deep ruby red with fresh aromas of red berries; a soft, supple wine with smooth, velvety tannins and a rich, chocolatey finish, Rob can think of none better for this semi-softie over sourdough as the short nights beckon.