When we asked Andy Swinscoe, What has been your best cheese discovery?, this was it!
Every year, once the snow has melted, sixty-nine producers return to their Alpine chalets high up in the Swiss Alps for the summer. With their cows grazing the lush, diverse mountain pastures, these small family farms set about creating a Gruyère style cheese the way it has been done for hundreds of years. Each cheese is made by hand in these small Alpine chalets: the milk is warmed and the curd heated in copper cauldrons hanging over open log fires.
Supplied by Andy Swinscoe, The Courtyard Dairy – Cheesemonger of the Year – World Cheese Awards.
The Courtyard Dairy stocks and supplies a carefully chosen range of unusual and exquisite farmhouse cheeses, selected direct from individual farms, and then only if the cheese is superior in quality and taste. No compromises.
For the best depth of flavour, these specialist cheeses are still made by hand on the farm, with most farmers using their own high-quality unpasteurised milk from a single herd of animals. Many of these farmers have less than 70 cows (the smallest producer has just 7 goats!).
The Courtyard Dairy’s cheeses are among the finest to be found anywhere in the world.
Etivaz – Unpasteurised cows’ milk
Each cheese is made by hand in these small Alpine chalets: the milk is warmed and the curd heated in copper cauldrons hanging over open log fires, which imparts a saline, smoky note to the cheese, and accentuates the classic, supple, sweet butterscotch-and-caramel nutty notes of the best Alpine cheeses. The cheese is made naturally using homemade starter cultures, to truly capture their terroir.
At barely a few days old the cheese wheels are transported down the mountain to the aging cellars in the mountain village of Etivaz, where the farmer-owned cooperative takes care of ageing and selling the cheeses.
Frederic and Irene Chabloz, one of the prized Etivaz producers who make this cheese, are part of this cooperative. Their chalet is set 1550 metres above sea level, they farm just 24 traditionally-bred Swiss cows, and they make only two small wheels of Etivaz each day. The Chabloz family product stands out as a true and excellent example of how good Etivaz can be.