Anthony Gismondi on Wine
Tuesday, November 19 2019

Kaltbach Alpine Extra

By: Allison Spurrell
The cold river cave cheese.

Kaltbach is known as a cold river cheese because it is aged in caves whose terrain is a lot like a cold river.

Cheese Name: Kaltbach Alpine Extra

Origin: Switzerland

Milk Type: Raw cow’s milk

Style: Firm mountain cheese

Description: The Kaltbach name is used by the Swiss Company Emmi to denote cheeses that are aged in their natural caves in Switzerland. The word Kaltbach means “cold river” and that is a description of the terrain inside the caves. The river creates the natural humidity in the caves that is beneficial for ageing cheeses as the wheels can mature for longer without cracking or splitting due to drying of the crust. Also, the natural microflora that exists inside the caves lends a unique element to the taste of the finished wheels. 

Kaltbach Alpine Extra (called Extra Spicy in Swiss-German, and sometimes called Intense in the US market) is a six-kilo wheel that ages in the caves for seven months. The raw milk used is silage free. Silage is slightly fermented hay, used often to feed cows in winter, but it can cause gases to form inside the cheese that creates cracking and other flaws, so it isn’t used for these cheeses at all. 

The finished wheels have a dark, almost black outside crust. The inside paste is a dark ivory colour, with a dense even texture, and small eyes dotting the surface very infrequently.

Tasting Notes: Kaltbach Alpine Extra has a lovely flavour of hay and toasted nuts, with a surprisingly creamy texture on the palate. Although the cheese is aged for only a minimum of seven months, the sharpness is a pleasant surprise.

Pairing: This is a great cheese for a cheese board as it compliments so many other styles without overpowering them. It can stand up to stronger cheeses and is a great addition to charcuterie items, even pairing well with spicy salami, or richer pâtés and terrines.

GOW's suggested wine pairings 

Written By: Allison Spurrell
Allison Spurrell
Allison Spurrell

Allison Spurrell stocks the larders of the city’s finest restaurants and your fridge alike, through les amis du FROMAGE, cheese shops in the Kitslano and Strathcona neighbourhoods in Vancouver which she runs with Joe Chaput. Their shelves are filled with 400 cheeses, including local, raw milk French, Italian and other specialties. They also sell foie gras, pâtés, crackers, biscuits, varietal olive oils, vinegars and other specialty food items and their kitchen in Strathcona prepares popular frozen taken away meals. Les amis du FROMAGE has received Vancouver Magazine's Restaurant Award as a top food supplier to Vancouver’s best restaurants and hotels. Allison is a proud member of Confrerie les Chevalier du Taste Fromage de France. To buy cheese visit: les amis du FROMAGE in Kitslano - 1752 West 2nd Ave | Tel (604) 732-4218 or Strathcona - 843 East Hastings St | Tel 604-253-4218 | www.buycheese.com.