What a gorgeous sight it is to see an open wheel of this exceptional cheese. It looks a little like a Parmigiano-Reggiano for good reason. I refer to Sbrinz as the great-grandfather of that better known cousin that is produced in Italy. It is said that the Sbrinz producers taught the Romans how to create the cheese that ultimately became known for the regions where it is produced.
One difference between these two great cheeses is that the Sbrinz is produced with whole milk, while the Parmigiano-Reggiano is produced with skimmed milk. That might make one think that the latter cheese might be less fattening. Did you ever think of Parmigiano-Reggiano as a low-fat cheese?
In one sense that is correct; much of the butter fats are skimmed off the top of the vat in its production. The Sbrinz having all of the good beneficial fats included has its own nutritive appeal, beyond the satisfaction and gustatory pleasure it provides.
My daughter taught me how to appreciate the cheese when she was a young toddler. I offered a little slice, knowing how good it was for her, and within a minute she asked for a second portion. I remember thinking that maybe I should pay closer attention to this venerable old cheese, one that has been produced in central Switzerland for many centuries.
Aesthetically, one quality that I especially appreciate about this Sbrinz is that the flavors are perfectly balanced. This makes Sbrinz a good pairing partner for a broad range of wine types.
I understand that the Master Cheese Maker for the creamery that produces this Sbrinz is nearing retirement. How the cheese will change when he retires is difficult to predict, but it is a concern. One thing that we can do is stock on it, and you can as well. This Sbrinz has extended keeping qualities. Few cheeses match the shelf-life of a good Sbrinz.
Years ago we had an entire wheel of Sbrinz arrive at the Artisanal Brasserie et Fromagerie and because it was so heavy and difficult to deal with, the fromagers there did not bother to cut into it. The wheel was already over two years old when it arrived. By the time it was cracked open it had aged an additional five years in their caves. The cheese was gone in less than a week â€“ all of it perfectly delicious. A cut piece of Sbrinz can hold up well for several weeks as well.
I did not give any perfect 100 scores in my second book â€“ Cheese, a Connoisseurâ€™s Guide to the Worldâ€™s Bestâ€“ because I canâ€™t say that I know what a â€œperfectâ€ cheese would be. However, this cheese was given a 99. It still remains one of favorites.
It is important to shave off paper-thin slices of your Sbrinz. This delivers the best Sbrinz experience; just allow that thin slice to melt over the tongue.