I had the opportunity to try some Mont Vully cheese this week while visiting my friend Mike. He had rounded up some good cheeses to try, and not the everyday stuff. I think he has “a source” or some kind of inside “cheese connection”.
Mont Vully is a cheese that comes from Switzerland. It is made at a small family dairy owned by Ewald Schafer in Cressier, a tiny village above the medieval town of Morat. The cheese is produced from raw milk. During the aging, the cheese is washed several times a week with Pinot Noir wine from the slopes of Mont Vully. The cheese reaches maturity after 10 to 20 weeks.
The rind is usually gold to red-brown in colour. The center is creamy yellow. It is semi hard with a smooth texture. It has a stronger smell than taste. It pairs well with Chardonnay.
You can recognize a wheel of Mont Vully cheese by its unique grape imprint on the top of the wheel.
Like Appenzeller, the Mont Vully is available in three grades; Classic, Bio and Reserve. The grades are a function of how long the cheese is aged. Classic is the freshest and Reserve is the most mature. Bio is aged in between. Mont Vully Bio was chosen the “Cheese of all Cheeses” at the 2006 Cheese Gala of the Swiss Cheese Championships by an international jury, beating out 436 other Swiss cheeses.
I would recommend this cheese for a cheese board. We tried it alongside Appenzeller and I found a lot of similarity between the two. It was interesting to have them side by side but I would not recommend putting them together on a cheese board because of the similarity.
I was visiting a friend and he knows I enjoy cheese. He brought out two bottles of Port, Rosenborg Blue Cheese, Swiss Appenzeller and Swiss Mont Vully. I brought German Cambozola and Greek Kasseri.
After taking a few pictures (he knows I’m a blogger) we did some serious tasting and enjoying. But this post is specifically about the Appenzellar. I’ll be posting about the Cambozola and Mont Vully later.
This is a picture of the Appenzeller.
Appenzeller cheese is produced in Northeast Switzerland. It is made from cow’s milk and is a hard cheese. An herbal brine is applied to cheese during curing to promote the rind. There are 75 dairies producing Appenzeller. This is a pretty good photo because it shows the small holes and the golden rind. It smells strong but it does not taste as strong as it smells. It melts nicely on the tongue and is smooth. It had taste characteristics similar to the Mont Vully. It was mildly salty, earthy, nutty and lightly fruity. I could not decide if I preferred the Appenzeller or the Mont Vully. They are a bit different but I liked them both in a way I find hard to describe.
The Appenzeller is sold in three varieties.
Classic – in a silver wrapper aged 3-4 months (that is what we tried)
Surchoix – in a Gold wrapper aged 4-6 months
Extra – in a Black wrapper aged six months or longer
The Appenzeller is a great cheese and a good addition to a cheese plate. It is very different from the cheddar cheeses many people are used to tasting. It is a bit strong and may not appeal to everybody. It did pair very nicely with the Graham’s 2003 Port.