Today we look at Tête de Moine*, a cheese made in the Swiss Jura Mountains, which literally means monk’s head. The Bellelay Abbey Monks created a small cylindrical ”monk’s head” cheese and created a machine, called a girolle, to thinly shave away layers from the top, exposing a bald spot, just like their heads!** Y’all are funny! Who knew? Traditionally Tête de Moine was only made from summer milk and sold from when the first leaves of autumn began to fall until March. Today it is made and sold throughout the year. It is made in 9 specific dairies in the northwestern section of the Swiss Alps. It is an unpasteurized, pressed curd cow milk cheese that is lightly cooked. The cheese is washed with a mixture of a brine and bacteria culture. To find out more about the whole process of cheesemaking and about the cheese see the links below. It became AOC designated in 2001. That means it can only be produced with local milk using the traditional methods and submitted to stringent quality controls.
It’s funk will fill the air with hints of must and fruit aromas, super dense and silky feels will tickle your tongue, and sweet fruity flavors with hints on nuts will delight your taste buds. Apples, grapes, pears, meat, and delicious bread all pair or just pop a perfect rosettes off the girolle into your mouth! Sweet dessert wines, sweeter whites, lambic beers, and Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Some even suggest a stout. That would be super creamy and delicious. Dessert anyone?
*Originally called Bellelay, after the abbey, the cheese was renamed Tête de Moine after the French Revolution.
**some say the name derives from the tax levied by the abbey, whereby the farmers would provide one cheese for each monk during the season.
THIS JUST IN: THANKS TO THE GENEROSITY OF SO MANY IN OUR CHEESE COMMUNITY, OUR FIRST ACS CCP EXAM® HAS BEEN FULLY FUNDED!! Plus we are 50% toward funding a second scholarship for an ACS CCP® to attend the ACS Conference in Denver.
Our Facebook Cheese Study Group is raising funds to send worthy ACS CCP exam® candidates and ACS CCPs® who want to attend the 2017 ACS Conference in Denver, Cheese With Altitude. You can apply for a scholarship by clicking hereand you can contribute to the scholarship fund by clicking here. All monies raised (withe the exception of the fees charged by GoFundMe) go to the winners of the scholarship. everyone involved in the scholarship efforts is donating their time and receiving NO fees or monetary compensation… just the feeling of helping those who need our help. Complete rules and information can be found here.
Applications must be submitted by 5pm April 15th.