Saturday, February 4, 2012

Der Scharfe Maxx

This is an offering from the Studer Dairy located on the Bodensee Lake in Canton Thurgau in the Swiss Alps. The dairy is traditional to that culture but Maxx has prerequisites making it unique. While Rouzaire Brie de Meaux (January 28th blog)stresses quality control from start to finish, Studer's Maxx elaborates on what cheesemaking actually is.

Dairy cows milked in the morning yield a lighter milk product while evening milking gets a creamier product. Maxx utilizes milk from each shift along with additional cream to get the desired texture. Moreover the milk is "thermalized" which is a process akin to pasteurization but stopping just short of that. Pasteurization lessens the danger of harmful bacteria living in dairy products but the master cheesemakers at Studer contend that thermalization in the making of harder cheeses does just fine while allowing for stronger earthy flavors to remain in the cheese.

Der Scharfe Maxx is then washed in an herb brine which further enhances the developing flavors of sweet hay, onions, and spice. The cheese is then cave aged for a minimum of six months. At release the cheese is semi-hard with tangy, meaty, pungent flavors that will get stronger with age. As a young cheese it is buttery but it becomes firmer with age. The rind, while edible, is not for everyone.

Der Scharfe Maxx is an amazing product and all readers are encouraged to stop in the store to taste it. Beverage affinities include Cabernet Sauvignon, white dessert wines, and amber ale.

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