9 year old swiss cheese is very tasty!

Many of you may recall my recounting previous experiences with the Elder Cheeses. I’ve always been fond of aged cheddar, and in recent years my go-to cheddar for daily sandwich/snack use is a 5 year old white cheddar, bought in 5 lb blocks from my local cheese factory.

But I long ago discovered that the cheddars became much more interesting once their ages reached the double digits. Sharper, with those yummy crystallized protein compounds distributed throughout the slice. Yum!

And while the 12, 15, and 17 year old cheddars were more and more delicious, they didn’t quite shine the same way as that lovely sample of 28 year old cheddar I got a while back. We hung onto a piece of that until it hit 30, then knocked it off at a family celebration.

But I’d always been disappointed that truly elder swiss cheeses were just not available. The commercial “aged” swiss is mostly crap, and even the local factories that specialize in swiss would rarely make a product older than 2 years, for sampling. It could be quite nice at that age, but not all that remarkable.

However, with persistence, I did find a few samples of Swiss that was 4 and even 5 years old. Quite nice! A rich, nutty flavor that was rather assertive on the palate. And best of all, the sample would often contain a deeply amber liquid in the holes in the cheese, which was the absolute essence of everything I like about swiss cheese flavor.

But it always lacked the crystallized proteins that made the elder cheddars so nice.

Until I got my hands on the 9 year old sample. That surfaced at a local cheese factory that also specializes in gathering a wide variety of other local cheeses, with an emphasis on artisanal types, AND elder cheeses. And though their cheddar selection maxed out at a 19 year old sample, it recently offered 9 year old swiss.

I grabbed some of that earlier this spring, but only got around to sampling it tonight, when I realized life was passing by too rapidly, and I should not defer tasting this gem for much longer.

The flavor is appropriately swissy, only a bit moreso. The holes are unfortunately small and less numerous than I’d like, but the liquid contained therein is likewise rich in essence of the cheese type. But best of all: A ton of crystallized protein for a wondrously textured and flavored crunch!!

I put some on a chicken sandwich, with garlic-parmesan bread and nothing else to distract it, and it is wondrous. But it’s best served on a plain rice cracker, which brings out the flavors I want, without adding extra elements. Or just thinly sliced with my favorite Spar brand cheese slicer.

Side note: Only Spar has the keen edge needed to cleanly slice those elder cheeses, in my experience. And since Spar went out of business decades ago, I’m guarding my two remaining Spar slicers jealously! They do occasionally come up on the secondary market, at eBay or elsewhere, but it can take a bit of effort to locate the right one.

So as my current stash of 19 and 17 year old cheddar slowly ages (surprisingly, at the same rate that I do, 1 second per second), I plan to savor this nice elder swiss with select family and friends.

Anyone else out there enjoying elder varieties of classic kaas? I had my hands on some 7 year old gouda (from the Netherlands) some years back that was a wonder, but other than cheddar and swiss, and the occasional treasure that is a stravecchione, I don’t see many other varieties of the hard cheeses being aged much beyond a year or two. And while I do savor a good soft cheese, those generally are NOT improved by prolonging the ageing process.

I have had aged swiss, but it is hard to find. Like you, I prefer older cheeses. I’ve been meaning to ask you where you find your aged cheddars. I haven’t been able to find anything over 5 years since I left the midwest 5 years ago. :frowning:

Cedar Valley carries a wide variety of older cheddars, up to 19 years old at times, although their online store only is offering up to 13 years old. They’ve got one of the best selections of cheeses in my area, and they do ship but caution about mailing cheese in warm weather. I don’t know why their website is not showing their older swiss stuff. They are showing the Deppeler’s aged swiss which is quite nice but lacks the liquid and crystals.

Schultz cheese haus also does mail order and has a nice range, currently offering 15 year old white cheddar. But their oldest swiss on the website is only 2 years old.

There are other, smaller cheese factories I frequent near me, but their selection is not so varied.

Good lord, aged gouda is perhaps my favorite aged hard cheese. Rich, nutty, fruity, crystally, just lovely through and through. Having grown up with “regular” gouda, I would have no idea that this is the same cheese! Of the various ages I’ve tried, I actually enjoyed the 5-year more than the 7-year. But when it comes to cheddar, I’ve only finally discovered some cheddars in Wisconsin that I really like (I’m not the biggest fan of cheddar), and they are the ones in the 10+ year range. I can’t even imagine what a 30-year-old cheddar would be like!

Now aged swiss I’ve never seen before, but I love the slight nuttiness and tang of regular Emmental or American Swiss. It was my favorite cheese as a kid–I would just make Swiss cheese sandwiches with a couple slices, some mayo, and white bread. Yum. I’ll have to keep an eye out for aged Swiss next time I’m up in Wisconsin (which is reasonably regularly).

Thank you!

I’m guessing the price scale is approximately logarithmic? :smiley:

This may be a UK/American thing but are you using the “swiss cheese” to refer to a certain variety? Switzerland is known as a country of wide cheese choices.

I can’t fathom holding on to cheese long enough for it to age longer than it has when we bought it. Not in our house. :slight_smile:

I think that Qadgop has an entire room of Stately Mercotan Manor set aside for cheese storage and aging.

And I have to say, “Elder Cheeses” sound like they should have the wrong number of tentacles (but definitely too many), and drive men mad, mad I tell you, just in their contemplation.

Emmental(er) or domestic Swiss, which is modeled after Emmental. Gruyere and other Swiss cheeses are referred to by name. The mental image for Americans of “Swiss cheese” is “that yellow-white cheese with the big holes in it.” The term “swiss cheese” can also be used as an idiom, like in a phrase like “that plot has more holes in it than Swiss cheese.”

I ordered the oldest swiss and yellow cheddar from Cedar Valley, and the oldest yellow cheddar from Schultz. We shall see! :slight_smile:

Bavaria Sausage, Inc. is another option for folks wanting to order some fine WI cheeses, especially if you might be interested in combining the order with some excellent meats. I’ve never personally ordered from them, only because I’m fortunate enough to live close enough to catch a whiff of their smoker when the wind is right :smiley:

I’ll not say you’re wrong, on either count.

Me at upscale grocery store with decent “artisan” cheese selection this morning;

Clerk: Can I help you find something?
Me: I was looking for some of that cheddar with Guinness.
Clerk: Oh, we only carry that on a seasonal basis.
Me: <crushed>

But I did pick up some Barber’s 1833*

*Not the year it was made.

Hm, putting some numbers on it, if you consume an ounce a day of 20-year-cheese, and you buy it fresh, you’d only need to keep about a 500 pound rotating stock of it. That wouldn’t even need a dedicated room (or at least, not a very large one), though you might still want to dedicate a room to it anyway, for purposes of climate control and cleanliness. And plenty of people devote an equivalent space in their home to various hobbies, and cheese-eating is no odder than many other hobbies.

Of course, you can buy it already aged, but that just means that somebody else is setting aside space for storage on your behalf. It amounts to the same thing.

Take your pick: spar cheese slicer for sale | eBay

Both the links I provided also offer a lot of cheeses with ‘additives’. Cranberry cheddar, Maple syrup cheddar, blueberry cheddar, jalapeno farmer cheese, chocolate cheese fudge, etc. etc.

Normally I’m not a big fan of those types of mixes, but I admit a few of them are pretty tasty; Caraway cheddar is reminiscent of my childhood for some unknown reason; and Havarti dill is just delicious. So I try to keep an open mind.

Well, somebody flooded the market recently! Good to know, thanks.

And by Spar, I really mean Bjørklund, of course!

how does one make a personal cheese aging setup?