This is a big deal!
Gruyere D’Alpage is a cheese that we don’t carry because little is made and the window for ordering is brief. In fact, for my 6 years as a cheesemonger, Alpage Gruyere was a mystery to me- the romanticized cheese (along with real Vacherin Mont D’or) as a grail of sorts. I figured I wouldn’t ever try it unless I visited the Alps. Then to my surprise, 2 months ago our distributor called me out of blue and said nonchalantly: Oh yeah… we got some Gruyere D’Alpage in. Do you want some?” The four of us tasted it and were unanimously wowed, we gave customers tastes, got the same response and sold out in less than a week.
In order for a cheese to be recognized as “alpage”, the cows must graze and the cheese must be made in high Alpine chalets. The cows tread into the upper elevations between the months of May and September before the treacherous weather hits. In these Alpine pastures the cows feast on lush exotic grasses and flowers only found in these higher elevations.
The cheese that we are offering dates back to August of 2011, making it one of the most aged alpine cheeses The Wine Source has seen. Often, the mention of Gruyere produces nothing more than a shrug, but this cheese will change all preconceived notions. And at 20 dollars a pound, Gruyere D’Alpage is the most impressive of all of our Cheeses of the Month. This is the type of cheese that needs to be tasted to understand all of the hype surrounding it. The flavors are an electrifying range of umami, nuts, fermented fruit and buttered toast. Its texture is crystalline, dense, and mouth-watering. I imagine I’m gonna make a lot of grilled cheese, quiche, roast potatoes and parsnips, French onion soup with it, and most importantly it will be the holy mountain on any cheese plate. This a cheese for the books- we won’t have any during Christmas, and it probably won’t be seen until next summer. So stock up on Gruyere D’Alpage for the month of November, on sale for the mindboggling price of $20 a pound (usually $25 a pound).