Tuesday, November 27, 2012

cheesetastic

A couple weeks ago I was contacted by Castello Cheese and asked to review a new line of their cheeses, The Bavarian Alps Collection. This was a first for me but when someone offers to give you free cheese, you say yes right?! So last week a few gift certificates arrived and I was off in search of some cheese. However, it seemed our local Superstore had only two of the four Alps varieties but that was the perfect amount for my charcuterie board for that night's party. That's right friends, you were all in on the product testing!

According to the website, the new line is "made from cows that live a life of privilege, grazing on Alpine grasses and herbs high up in the mountains during summer. Come fall, they are paraded back to warm homes and milked with care in a centuries-old tradition. Time-honoured recipes turn their distinctive, herb-infused milk into delicious cheeses that will transport you and everyone you share them with to a Bavarian mountain high." Sounds pretty amazing to me, especially for those cows. And it turns out that both cheeses were pretty darn amazing. And I'm not just saying that.

The Hirten was a harder, crumbly cheese, think parmesan, that is aged for nine months. With wonderful hints of caramel, it was rich and flavorful. Like party in my mouth flavorful. It was remarkably similar to Old Grolwer, a local aged gouda from That Dutchman's Farm. In fact, it was so much like the Old Growler that I would probably lose in a blind taste test of the two. Since I'm a huge Old Growler fan, two thumbs up over here for the Hirten.

The Weissbeir, more of a semi soft cheese, was much milder but creamy, buttery, and slightly nutty. Apparently the cheese is washed with Weissber beer from the oldest brewery in Germany three times a week during its 10-12 week ripening. Yum. I don't think I tasted much of the beer notes but just the thought of beer soaked cheese has me salivating.

Now, because I was in a mad rush to prep for the party, I didn't get a chance to snap a pic. But, luckily, enough cheese was salvaged from that wine-fuelled night that I could make these bad boys:

Mushroom Bruschetta with Hirten and Arugula



Mini Grillers with Local Honey Crisp Apple, Onion Jam, and Weissbeir


One word. Cheesetastic. I know this was a product review for marketing purposes but I'm pretty sure I'm the one that benefited most from this deal. So big thanks Castello. Anytime you need more cheese testers, I'm your gal.