We have a new cheese from the Adopt-an-Alp program! A quick refresher on what that is: Basically, we agree to buy a certain number of wheels from cheesemakers in Switzerland who are practice transhumance (the movement of people and their animals, usually farmers/cheesemakers and their cows, sheep and/or goats, up to alpine pastures in the summer). In Switzerland, people have been practicing transhumance for over 8,000 years, but now the practice is dying out as it becomes less economically practical. Adopt-an-Alp helps support Swiss families who still bring their animals into the mountains and make cheese during the summer to protect this important tradition. Also, those sweet alpine grasses and wildflowers make for some great milk and thus wonderful cheese. The cool thing about it for cheese shops is that the cheese we buy becomes exclusive to us! This year, we are very excited about our new cheese called Urnerboden 2016, after the alp on which it is made.
Urnerboden 2016 is from a dairy cooperative that was founded by 60 farmers from the area to protect themselves from major milk price fluctuations. This allows them to continue milking cows and making cheese without major outside economic pressures. They pool their milk to create Unrnerboden. Since we don’t get to try the cheese before we buy it, we’re always a little wary of the taste, but this cheese is fantastic! It is firm with lots of crunchy crystals and dry, but it becomes creamy as it warms in your mouth. The deeply brothy taste and slight mustardy tang make me think this cheese should be good for an awesome ham and cheese sandwich. Add some slices of apple and a crisp amber ale and you have a fall lunch of champions!
For the love of cheese and Adopt-an-Alp 2018,
P.S. This picture is from the blog on the Adopt-an-Alp website, http://www.adopt-an-alp.com/ , which I highly recommend because it's fun to see how these farmers move their cows and make cheese waaaay up in the mountains.