Introducing Alpage cheese: what it is and how to eat it
When you love cheese as much as we do it’s important to understand where it comes from and why, because this can enhance your enjoyment. Alpage cheese is one of our favorite artisan cheeses as it is only made during certain months of the year in a specific region. If you want to find out all about Alpage cheese, so that you are ready to appreciate it in all its glory when it next arrives in your Cheesemonger Box selection, then please read on.
Where is Alpage cheese made?
The term ‘alpage’ means mountain pasture and cheeses that are labeled as Alpage are generally made in the high mountain regions of Switzerland.
How is it made?
Alpage cheeses are made only during the warmer months of the year - generally from June to September - when the cows can graze on the grasses and wildflowers of the alpine pastures.
These high mountain cheeses are made using traditional methods and equipment, by independent producers, in small batches.
There are strict rules in place for mountain summer farming in Switzerland such as the restriction of fungicides and herbicides, which means Alpage cheeses are generally organic in their production.
As they are only produced in the warmer months, Alpage cheeses are not always available, especially as they need to mature for a period of between one and twelve months to deliver the best taste. That’s what makes them so sought after and a popular option when available in our subscription boxes.
What does it taste like?
If you haven’t tried alp cheeses before, then a good comparison would be another Swiss favorite, Gruyere, however, Alpage cheeses are much deeper and more aromatic thanks to the toasty flavor that comes from the milk being heated in large copper vats over an open fire.
High mountain cheeses don’t only have an in depth flavor profile, they may also be better for you, as they tend to contain more Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids than other cheeses. This is because the flora of the alpine pastures contains more alpha-linolenic acids than the flowers of the lowlands. These alpha linolenic acids are turned into Omega 3 and 6, which play a crucial role in brain function, bone health and metabolism.
What’s the best way to enjoy Alpage cheese?
Alpage is a firm, smooth cheese with a complex floral and nutty character. It can be used for a classic fondue or served as the centerpiece of your cheeseboard. To get the most from this cheese, pair it with a full flavored, medium-bodied wine and serve at room temperature with flatbreads and fig chutney or slices of fresh apple and pear.
Have your cheese and eat it!
If you want to take your love of cheese to the next level and enjoy seasonal, artisan cheeses like Alpage, why not take out a Cheesemonger Box subscription? Choose from our classic or signature boxes and enjoy 3 hand selected cheeses every month for as long as you want. Click here to find your perfect cheese box.
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