Not That Swiss Cheese

Every summer I lead a cheese tasting for the Society of Medical Friends of Wine, a group of Bay Area physicians with a shared interest in fine wine. We have never had a problem filling the seats until this year, when one of the doctors—a Swiss native—suggested a Swiss theme for the tasting. He got no resistance from me: I loved the idea. Some of the most impressive cheeses I’ve had in the last few years have been new arrivals from Switzerland.

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Holy Jacob, Batman

A new Swiss cheese in the U. S. market is always something to celebrate, especially if the importer is Florida’s Quality Cheese. Caroline and Daniel Hostettler, who run the company, got their start 17 years ago with the impeccable cheeses from Swiss affineur Rolf Beeler. They made Beeler into a rock star here (he was already acclaimed in Switzerland) and have since expanded their line to include many other gems from their native Switzerland.

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Ripple Effect

Seasonal and costly but a splurge you won’t regret, the cheese pictured at right is luscious beyond words. I’d like to call it Vacherin Mont d’Or but I can’t. The official name is Petit Vaccarinus, which sounds like a condition that requires antibiotics. But aficionados will recognize it as a Vacherin twin, identical to that sought-after Swiss cow’s milk cheese in almost every way that matters.

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