- Brie de Meaux. Real french brie is made of raw cow milk and has a not so inviting smell. It’s soft and creamy in the inside, and has a soft white crust around it. There are many variations in the (swiss) markets, including truffles, herbs and nuts. It’s taste is soft and has somewhat of hazelnut in it. I first became a fan of brie in Madrid, when I discovered a tapa that was a small steak with melted brie and fleur de sel on it. And now, I would eat it even without bread (I know I shouldn’t).
- Mozzarella di Bufala. What’s the difference with regular mozzarella (for italians: fior di latte), you may ask? This mozzarella is made from the milk of the domestic water buffalo, rather than from cow milk. Even though its originally from Italy, we also have local producers in Switzerland. If you want to be a real gourmet, then go for the Mozzarella di Bufala Campana trademark, which was granted with a Protected Geographical Status in 2008. The cheese has a bright white color and spheric shape, a smooth and shiny surface and a very refreshing taste. If you find yourself in Milan some time, I’d highly recommend you to check out the Mozzarella Bar (in the roof top of a shopping mall next to the Cathedral) – not only can you taste your way through different mozzarellas, but you can also order a whole lot of dishes made with this delicious cheese!
- Gruyère. Very swiss/french. I had eaten gruyère a few times before moving to Switzerland and never considered it as one of my favorites – but it just tastes so differently here. So much better! Even though its a hard cheese, I find it a bit softer here than abroad, and it has a milder nutty taste (maybe this is related to its aging – I’m really not an expert!). It was fascinating to learn about its history and production in La Maison du Gruyère (right after eating a shameless amount of cheese). Gruyère is one of the cheeses used in fondue moitié-moitié (the other one being Vacherin), but is also used for many other plates such as the french onion soup or quiches.
- Queijo de Serra. Remember that cheese I ate in Lisbon? Now that has been a great find. Serra da Estrela (commonly called Queijo de Serra) is from Portugal and is made of sheep’s milk. The maturer the cheese is, the harder it will be. I have a devotion for creamy cheese (can you tell from my previous choices?), so the one I really like is the amanteigado – when its young and liquid, so liquid you can (and will) eat it with a spoon.
- Tomme Vaudoise. Up to now, many of these cheeses are known internationally; but let me tell you about a little regional secret – the tomme vaudoise. One of my favorites because of its mild taste, this cheese is from my current canton – Vaud. It’s made of raw cow milk and ranges a wide range of textures and intensive tastes depending on its matureness. I’m pretty sure I’ve tried them all (no, really) – and my very favorite one (a fresh one) can’t be found in regular supermarkets. I always have to wait until saturday and search for it at the farmers market. That’s my plan for saturday by the way!
Now its your turn: Which cheese would be on your top 5 list?