Friday, February 21, 2014

Tasting Plate Close Up: Little Mountain

When we visited Roelli Cheese last summer in Shullsburg, Wisconsin, Chris Roelli gave us a taste of one of his newest cheeses, Little Mountain. Rich, nutty, and smooth, it was one of the few cheeses I carried home with me.

Little Mountain falls into the category of cooked, pressed, Alpine-style cheeses. These cheeses characteristically have an elastic paste dotted with holes, or "eyes." Regular washings of brine encourage the development of a thick natural rind and deep flavors.

Wisconsin cheesemakers have shown great skill with this style of cheese: Roth Kase's Grand Cru Gruyere Surchoix and Uplands Cheese's celebrated Pleasant Ridge Reserve are two examples. Chris Roelli differentiated his Alpine-style by looking to Appenzeller as his model. Aged six months, the paste is smooth and springy with yeasty, fruity and nutty flavors. 

Demand for Little Mountain currently exceeds supply, especially since it was honored with a Third Place award at the 2013 ACS. We were able to coax 2 wheels from Chris around the holidays. Five more arrived recently. I don't think they'll be here long. Come by to try it!

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