Le Tastevin Wine Club - Notes on the Cheeses - December 12, 2008

The cheeses are from the Whole Foods store in West Bloomfield. They have been selected because they represent two totally different style of cheese recommended by many authors to go well with red wines. Both are slightly salty on the attack, but not on the finish. The French "epi" loaves are once again from The Give Thanks Bakery in Rochester.

Mimolette (Boule de Lille) - a very hard, pasteurized cow's-milk cheese from the area of Lille, France in Brittany. When consumed young it is undistinguished. However, when aged over 1 year (as is ours), it hardens, turns a deep orange color, and takes on an array of fruity and very nutty flavors with notes of butterscotch and caramel. The round, flattened ball of cheese, which some say looks like a melon, has a thick, inedible rind with a grayish, pockmarked, moon-like appearance. This cheese traces its origin to King Louis XIV who wanted a French cheese made to resemble Dutch Edam, the importation of which had been banned. The result is an intense cheese which is similar to aged Gouda. Mimolette reportedly was the favorite cheese of Gen. Charles DeGaulle.

Reserve Cave-Aged Gruyere (Raw cow's-milk cheese). True cave-aged Reserve Gruyere (ours is aged over 1 year) is a classic Swiss cheese with a rich flavor unlike the many pre-packaged deli-style cheeses bearing its name. Its history dates back to the thirteenth century, and it is still made in 80-pound wheels requiring 88 gallons of milk per wheel. Gruyere is a semi-hard cheese which melts in your mouth to reveal a nutty, slightly sweet taste with a complex mushroomy flavor with elements of fruits and nuts and a long finish.

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