We focus a lot of our cheese collection on mountain dairies of Switzerland, Northern Italy, and France where big wagon wheels of extra-aged cheese are common. America has never really had a mountain cheese tradition and the new cheese movement that’s grown in the last two decades is often known for its small, soft, local cheeses.
Not so with Spring Brook Farm. Their Tarentaise, made in Reading, Vermont from raw Jersey cow’s milk, has much in common with the classic mountain cheeses like Gruyère and Comté. It's a semi-hard, brine-washed cheese that’s aged for about a year. Its mouthfeel is creamy in spite of it being a hard cheese. The mountain cheese flavors of hazelnut and fruit are there too. In fact it holds its own against Europe’s Alpine heavyweights and can be used in similar ways: melting over vegetables, in omelets, or straight up with a few other top flight choices on a cheese board.
The current wheel we're cutting into was made in November 2014. They're brighty, fruity, with notes hinting at freshly baked bread. This is the best Tarentaise I've tasted in quite a while - really good stuff!