San Francisco’s Fancy Food Show is always an over-the-top experience, with so many new products and competing tastes that it’s hard to focus. When a cheese stands out in this cacophony—so much that I recall it months later—it’s a good bet that the cheese isn’t speaking to me alone.
In fact, the Swiss triple-cream Moser Screamer—which debuted at the show earlier this year—took off like a racehorse. Americans love rich, creamy cheeses (honestly, who doesn’t?) and retailers quickly embraced this luscious novelty.
What’s so novel about a triple-cream cheese? From Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam to France’s Brillat-Savarin, these high-fat disks are among every cheesemonger’s top sellers. But Swiss creameries don’t make them, says Caroline Hostettler, who imports the Moser line. The Swiss make hard cheeses, big cheeses, the kind that mature for six months to a year.
Ueli Moser, a relentless inventor from a cheesemaking family, didn’t want to do what others do. Although he grew up making traditional Swiss cheeses like Emmentaler, he also spent several formative years working in France. There he fell in love with the small, soft cow’s milk cheeses of Normandy and Brittany, and when he returned to Switzerland and opened his own dairy, he leaped into that niche.
Some of his inspirations strike me as gimmicky—one disk is halved and stuffed with mascarpone and truffles—but with Screamer he takes a classic approach. Made with pasteurized cow’s milk and cream from nearby farms, the 150-gram (5.5-ounce) cheese ripens for about 40 days before leaving the creamery and then has perhaps another month of viability in the U.S.
The sample I tried recently—and photographed above—still had plenty of time left. The rind was thin and damp and clung to the interior, always a good sign. The paste impressed me with its deep, buttery color and inviting aroma of mushrooms and crème fraiche. Some triple-cream cheeses taste like little more than whipped salted butter—and over-salted butter at that—but Screamer offers that intriguing cultured-milk scent. Voluptuous in texture, this cheese begs for some good walnut bread.
Moser Screamer won an innovation award last year in its home country, where it goes by a different name that wouldn’t resonate here. Hostettler, the Florida-based importer, rechristened it to highlight its creaminess. Plus, she reasoned, “When you taste it, you want to scream.”
Look for Moser Screamer at these retail locations. Pair it with a sparkling wine to cut the richness or a buttery Chardonnay to complement it.