October 22, 2014

This Cheese Doesn't Suck: Meule de Savoie

    Today is all about another French cheese, the raw cow's milk Meule de Savoie by Herve Mons.  Meaning (also literally) "Windmill of Savoie", it is made high up in mountainous Savoie in the Rhone-Alpes region.  I have to say one of the many things I love about French cheese is that delightful, conversational way they name their cheeses.  Not content to name cheese simply after where they're made, oh no.  
    This cheese has all the great hallmarks of a good alpine style.  Creamy uniform paste, pale almond color, thick woodsy natural rind, and made in wheels the size of a coffee table.  Granted by the time we receive them at the shop the Meule has been cut down for us into a more manageable wedge (I know, I know, losing serious cred for receiving a pre-cut wheel).  
    The Board and Wire has already discussed some of the magic of Meule de Savoie in an earlier post in which I concocted a fabulous grilled cheese with it and various "leavin's" in my fridge.  Which shows that if you have a lump of some delicious cheese you can probably make just about anything from stuff hanging about near your crisper.  This time Meule de Savoie is just shining away, all on its own, on my cheese board today.  It's almost meditative to break out a single piece of cheese, let it come to room temperature, and slowly, carefully taste it.  Catching all of its flavor profiles and intricacies of texture. 
    The Meule, like I said above, already has the visual earmarks of an alpine cheese.  It does not disappoint once it goes in your face.  The flavor is subtle, but punchy, with that high singing acidity reminiscent of a young Gruyere.  Compound butter, raw hazelnut, and a good dose of toasted hay round out the palate.  The texture has a classically creamy, toothsome grit to it.  Very much what I would expect from a lightly aged high mountain cheese.  Meule de Savoie really is ideal for slapping onto a Raclette grill and greedily scraping off ribbons of molten cheese onto new potatoes.  Pair this all up with a great I.P.A. or go nuts and try it with Gewurztraminer.